Netflix stock soars to new high on subscriber growth

You can now take Netflix on the road
You can now take Netflix on the road

Netflix is quickly closing in on the 100 million mark for total subscribers.

Netflix (NFLX) added 7 million members globally in the final quarter of 2016, handily beating its earlier forecast for 5.2 million new subscribers.

For the year as a whole, Netflix added a record 19 million members, up from 17.4 million in 2015. The video streaming service now has 93.8 million members.

The majority of that subscriber growth came from overseas, as original shows like The Crown, Black Mirror and, surprisingly, the Gilmore Girls reboot find audiences in multiple countries.

There was "a nice upside surprise of something like Gilmore Girls, which you'd think would be incredibly domestic in its popularity, but we found it to be incredibly international as well, particularly performing great in Europe," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said on an investor call.

Sarandos also talked up Netflix's increased investments in shows from "top names in comedy" like Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer to drive future subscriber growth.

The company's stock jumped 8% to a new all-time high in after hours trading following the earnings results.

Related: Netflix CEO on Trump: 'It's so bad for America if he wins'

Like many other large tech firms, Netflix saw its stock dip in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election on concerns about his administration pursuing policies counter to Silicon Valley's interests.

For Netflix, in particular, a chief concern is the potential that net neutrality rules will be overturned. The rules prohibit Internet providers like Comcast (CCV) from picking favorites or slowing the delivery of content from online services like Netflix. Trump has surrounded himself with several advisers who oppose net neutrality.

Netflix lobbied hard for the original rules, but downplayed the renewed concerns in its shareholder letter.

"Weakening of U.S. net neutrality laws, should that occur, is unlikely to materially affect our domestic margins or service quality because we are now popular enough with consumers to keep our relationships with ISPs stable," the company said.

Netflix stock has rebounded since the election as investors express optimism that the company's big investments in original content are paying off with strong subscriber growth.

"We're just going to lather, rinse, repeat again and again for the next couple years," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said on the call. "We have a long way to go."

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