Netflix added a record 7 million subscribers over the past quarter as part of its global expansion drive, fueling a surge in revenue and profit for the streaming television giant. California-based Netflix said in its quarterly report Wednesday it ended the year with nearly 94 million subscribers, adding 5 million outside the United States in the last three months of the year.
"This was the largest quarter of net additions in our history and was driven by strong acquisition trends in both our U.S. and international segments," Netflix said in its quarterly update.
That growth helped push net profit up 55 percent in the fourth quarter to $66.7 million, while revenues were up 36 percent from a year earlier to $2.5 billion. The stronger-than-expected results lifted Netflix shares more than eight percent in after-hours trade.
Netflix added nearly 20 million new customers globally in the full year after announcing last January its plan to expand to some 190 countries to become a "global television network."
Netflix said it expects to see strong growth ahead even as it faces more competitors such as Amazon, which is also expanding globally. The letter said Netflix expects 5.2 million new customers globally, including 3.7 million outside the U.S. in the first quarter.
The expansion drive has meant that nearly half - 47 percent - of Netflix users are now outside the United States, a proportion expected to increase as it adds more customers. Known for its broad array of on-demand content and original productions such as "House of Cards" and "Marco Polo," Netflix said it continues to invest in new content. Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders said that content was a strong driver of Nexflix's success, with subscriber ranks climbing despite a recent price increase. International growth remains a money-losing operation as Netflix invests in winning audiences around the world, but the analyst saw the strategy as necessary to counterbalance inevitable slowing at home.