Netflix passes HBO with 31 million U.S. subscribers

Netflix's earnings quadrupled as its line-up of original programming helped it attract 1.3 million more U.S. subscribers during its latest quarter.

Earnings quadruple to $32 million in 3rd quarter after original series hook viewers

Taylor Schilling, left, and Uzo Aduba in a scene from the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, which helped the video subscription service hit 31 million subscribers by the end of September. (Paul Schiraldi/Netflix/Associated Press)

Netflix's earnings quadrupled as its lineup of original programming helped it attract 1.3 million more U.S. subscribers during its latest quarter.

That makes the internet-based video subscription service, with 31 million subscribers at the end of September, more popular than cable network HBO, which has 29 million subscribers.

Netflix earned $32 million US, or 52 cents per share, in the quarter. This is more than four times its income of $7.7 million, or 13 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Revenue rose 22 per cent from last year to $1.1 billion US.

The Los Gatos, Calif. company has hooked viewers with original series such as House of Cards, which earned an Emmy for director David Fincher, and Orange is the New Black.

Like HBO, Netflix has used original programming to build customer loyalty and to stand out from competitors such as Inc., the largest web retailer, HuluLLC and Redbox Instant by Verizon. HBO began hooking viewers in 1983 with a biopic of Canadian runner and hero Terry Fox.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also plans to make inroads into cable and is in talks with U.S. cable providers — including Cox Communications Inc., Suddenlink Communications, RCN Telecom Services and Atlantic Broadband Finance LLC — to be added as an option to cable bundles.

HBO, which is owned by Time Warner Inc., still has a commanding lead globally with 114 million subscribers around the world.

Netflix Inc., in contrast, has 40.3 million subscribers worldwide after adding 1.44 million customers outside the U.S. in the July-September quarter. The company's streaming service is available in 41 countries.

Netflix's latest report was a hit on Wall Street. Netflix's stock soared $36.51, or more than 10 percent, to $391.50 in extended trading after the numbers came out. That puts the shares on course for another record high in Tuesday's regular session and means the stock has more than quadrupled in value this year.

With files from the Associated Press


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