Netflix stocks went up Monday after it reported robust first quarter earnings. The stocks reached $200 per share in after-hours trading for the first time since 2011. It also said that it has more subscribers than HBO in the United States. The company attributed it to the success of its first original series, House of Cards.
Netflix also announced a new subscription option that would help it profit from people who share their password for the streaming video service. The present service allows a maximum of two simultaneous streams for $7.99 per month.
The company will start offering an option that allows four simultaneous streams for $11.99. The company said that the new option is ideal for big families.
Netflix got a profit of $3 million or 5 cents per share for the first quarter compared to a loss of $5 million in the same period of last year. Revenues for the quarter topped $1 billion for the first time as the company continued to get more subscriber to its streaming service.
In the first quarter, it attracted two million subscribers in the United States. Analysts noted that Netflix got 29.2 million subscribers, which was more than the number HBO has in the US. The 2 million new subscribers were above industry expectations of around 1.7 million.
HBO doesn’t give out detailed subscriber data but researchers estimated that the cable channel had 28.7 million subscribers at the end of 2012. HBO is part of a cable bundle while Netflix is a stand-alone service with DVD-by-mail and streaming options.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings and chief financial officer David Wells praised House of Cards, which is an original series starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright that debuted in February. Critics described it as something that would fit Showtime or HBO.