Netflix's fourth-quarter earnings soared as the internet video service added another 2.3 million U.S. subscribers to burnish its status as one of the world's most popular entertainment options.

The financial results announced Wednesday topped analyst estimates, and Netflix basked in Wall Street's adulation. The company's stock surged $58.39 US, or more than 17 percent, to $392.12 US in extended trading. If the shares behave similarly in Thursday's regular session, the stock will hit its highest levels since Netflix Inc. went public nearly 12 years ago..

Investors tend to focus more on Netflix's subscriber growth because the widening audience provides the company with the means to negotiate the rights to show even more compelling content to show in the future.

Netflix Inc. ended December with 33.4 million U.S. subscribers who stream video over high-speed Internet connections, up from 31.1 million in September.

People are still flocking to the service. Netflix expects to gain an additional 2.25 million subscribers during the first three months of the year.

The Los Gatos, California company earned $48 million, or 79 cents per share, during final three months of last year. That compared to $8 million, or 13 cents per share, at the same time in 2012.

Revenue rose 24 per cent from the previous year to nearly $1.2 billion.