Netflix Surges on Q1 Huge Earnings Beat (Update 1)

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Updated from 4:24 P.m. EST to provide comments from shareholder letter regarding original series in the fifth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix shares surged 22.84% to $214.19 after the online-entertainment company posted earnings that beat Wall Street expectations.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company earned 31 cents per share on $1.02 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by both Thomson Reuters and Estimize were looking for earnings of 19 cents per share on $1.02 billion in sales.

Earnings were impacted by a "debt extinguishment cost."

"Our U.S. streaming business achieved strong growth in Q1. We added over 2 million members to the service, launched to great reception our first Original series of 2013 House of Cards, and improved our streaming contribution margin above our 100 bps target," CEO Reed Hastings wrote in his letter to shareholders.

The company had over 36 million streaming subscribers at the end of the quarter, up 3.05 million from the previous quarter.

In the letter to shareholders, Hastings lauded the success of Netflix's original series, such as House of Cards, and its most recent release, Hemlock Grove.

"On February 1, we premiered all 13 episodes of House of Cards to enormous popular and critical acclaim," Hastings said. "The global viewing and high level of engagement with the show increased our confidence in our ability to pick shows Netflix members will embrace and to pick partners skilled at delivering a great series."

Hemlock Grove was launched on April 19, with all 13 episodes being shown at once, ala House of Cards. "Hemlock Grove was viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House of Cards and has been a particular hit among young adults," Hastings said.

The next original series is the fourth season of Arrested Development, with all 15 episodes available May 26.

For the second quarter, Netflix said it expects earnings to be between 23 cents and 48 cents per share on a revenue range between $821 million and $843 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are looking for earnings of 30 cents per share on $1.056 billion in revenue

The company will hold a conference call at 6 P.M. ET to discuss the results.

Shares of Netflix closed the regular session higher, up 6.73% to $174.37.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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