New Netflix subscribers send stock prices soaring

Netflix hits “Narcos” and “Stranger Things” helped attract 1.2 million more subscribers to the video streamer than it predicted for the third quarter — a surprise that drove its stock up 20 percent in after-hours trading.

“It’s time for me to apologize for volatility again,” Chief Executive Reed Hastings said when asked on a conference call with Wall Street about swings in Netflix’s stock price, which rose to about $120 per share in extended trading on Monday. “This time it’s in a good direction.”

Netflix’s 86.7 million total subscribers took quarterly revenue past the $2 billion mark for the first time — to $2.2 billion, a 36 percent rise — while net income of $52 million crushed in-house projections of $22 million.

International streaming drove the revenue gain, rising 65 percent to total $853 million.

Those results speak to Netflix’s launch in 130 additional territories early this year, a rollout so successful the company warned of tough comparisons in 2017.

US revenue increased 23 percent, to $1.3 billion, while domestic membership growth slowed to 10 percent.

Netflix said it expects to add 5.2 million subscribers next quarter, a gain slightly less than the 5.6 million it added in the year-earlier quarter. The slowing growth “reflects the completion of un-grandfathering” — the company’s strategy of gradually rolling out this year’s price hike to $10 a month — from a low of $8 for long-term customers.

Now in its fourth year of producing original content, Netflix praised such efforts as “Narcos” and “Stranger Things” for delivering both critical and financial results.

Self-production has proven more conducive to making quality content — plus there’s more licensing flexibility and no studio mark-up, said Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

Netflix plans to up the 600 hours of premium original programming it released this year to 1,000 hours in 2017, Sarandos said.

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