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Netflix draws 9m new subscribers amid Bird Box success

Netflix's original series and films, including post-apocalyptic thriller Bird Box, helped draw almost nine million new subscribers to the streaming service in the fourth quarter.

The world's biggest streaming service said 80 million households watched Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, in the first four weeks after its 21 December release. The film helped push global subscribers to more than 139 million.

"We are beginning to have our original movie offering mirror the success of our series offering for consumer enjoyment," the company said in a statement to shareholders.

It added: "As a result of our success with original content, we're becoming less focused on 2nd run programming."

But the company fell short of Wall Street's subscriber estimates sending its stock diving almost 4% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The company beat its own global forecast to add 7.6 million but fell short of Wall Streets's estimate of 9.2 million global subscribers.

It also only managed to add 1.5 million subscribers in the United States, suggesting the pace of growth in its biggest market is slowing.

Revenue grew 27% to $4.19bn, missing analysts' expectations of $4.21bn.

Fourth-quarter profit fell to $134m from the year earlier's $186m, the company said.

"Results are broadly positive with its streaming service continuing to gain popularity, as is evident from its strong net additions globally," Investing.com senior analyst Haris Anwar said.

"But results won't push its stock higher from here, with most of the good news already priced in after a massive rally earlier this month."

Netflix added 781 hours of original programming in the United States and expects to spend $3bn this year to acquire the rights to programmes and produce more of its own content.

Its traditional rivals Walt Disney, AT&T and Comcast are all launching their own streaming services. Disney has said it will no longer supply new movies to Netflix.

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