Netflix stock jumps 11% on big streaming usage figure


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Netflix stock surged 11% on Wednesday, its biggest gain in almost a year, as investors were impressed by new data on streaming video usage.

The online movie and television subscription company said early Wednesday that its customers streamed more than 2 billion hours of content during the final three months of 2011. Analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG estimated that would make Netflix the No. 15 most watched television network, ahead of FX, History Network and CNN.


In the 21 million homes estimated to use Netflix’s streaming video -- the company has not updated its subscription figures since Sept. 30 -- it is the second most watched network, behind only CBS, Greenfield said.

‘The most relevant takeaway is that Netflix streaming usage is exploding and is far, far bigger than traditional media executives give it credit for,’ the analyst said.

Investors seemed impressed by the prospect of Netflix returning to a fast-paced growth path and taking share from traditional media companies after a tough 2011. The company lost 800,000 subscribers during the third quarter of last year and saw its stock plummet more than 75% from July to the end of the year, following an aborted attempt to separate DVD streaming into a separate brand called Qwikster and a price hike that infuriated many consumers.

The jump in Netflix’s share price to $80.45 Tuesday was its largest one-day gain since Jan. 27 of 2010, according to Bloomberg.


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-- Ben Fritz