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Netflix passes 10 million subscriber mark

Netflix said on Thursday it has signed up more than 10 million subscribers as its service providing movies through the mail and the Web attracts more recession-strapped consumers.
/ Source: Reuters

Netflix said on Thursday it has signed up more than 10 million subscribers as its service providing movies through the mail and the Web attracts more recession-strapped consumers.

Netflix, which has moved aggressively in the emerging market of delivering movies to television sets and other devices via the Web, added more than 600,000 net subscribers since January 1.

The company's shares rose 3.7 percent, or $1.34, to $37.51 in afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

"I think Netflix is benefiting from a combination of things. People are looking for cheaper alternatives in entertainment," said Stacey Widlitz, an analyst with Pali Research, noting that its partnerships with companies like Microsoft Corp and LG Electronics Inc are gaining popularity with audiences.

Netflix said last week that 1 million Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console users had activated its movie streaming service in the past three months, but did not say how many subscribers it actually gained from the partnership. (Msnbc.com is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

With the Netflix application, Xbox LIVE Gold members who pay $50 a year to Microsoft for various applications can view content from Netflix on a television via the Xbox 360 system if they also join a Netflix plan priced around $9 a month to include its Watch Instantly streaming service.

In announcing it had surpassed 10 million subscribers, Netflix repeated the forecast it provided on January 26, including 10.1 million to 10.3 million subscribers in the first quarter and 10.6 million to 11.3 million subscribers for the full year.

Netflix last month said its stronger-than-expected quarterly results were propelled by growth in its Web video streaming service.

Netflix has offered the Watch Instantly streaming service for over two years. Originally only available on personal computers, it now offers streaming Netflix video from the Internet through various devices, including the Roku set-top boxes, the Xbox, LG Electronics products and others.

Netflix, best known for renting DVDs by mail, is the only company offering a subscription-based streaming video service while rivals such as Amazon.com, Apple and Blockbuster compete with a la carte, pay-per-view rentals.