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The crux of the matter appeared to be whether server units used to help handle the streaming load for the California-based firm were enough to designate it as having permanent status in Italy in the eyes of local tax collectors/AFP

Technology

Membership jumps as Netflix pumps original shows

Netflix

Netflix on Wednesday said that membership jumped 3.3 million last quarter, crediting original shows such as “Orange is the New Black” that have been hits with viewers.

The gain in subscribers to its streaming television service was a record high for the historically weak second quarter of the year, and raised the total number of people tuned in to 65.55 million.

Most of the growth came from outside the United States, according to the Northern California-based company, which predicted more than three million more new subscribers would sign on during the current quarter.

“We believe the higher than anticipated level of acquisition was fueled by the growing strength of our original programming slate,” Neflix chief Reed Hastings said in a letter to shareholders.

He touted successful first seasons for ‘Sense8,’ ‘Marvel’s Daredevil,’ ‘Dragons: Race to the Edge,’ and ‘Grace and Frankie.’

Updated membership figures were released in an earnings report that showed Netflix topped market expectations with a quarterly profit of $26 million compared to a net income of $71 million in the same quarter a year earlier despite revenue climbing.

Netflix shares, which were adjusted for a 7-to-1 stock split, were up more than nine percent to $107.55 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

Netflix executives forecast the company would operate near break-even financially through next year as it invested in international expansion, where exchange rates and other factors can drag on profit.

“We hope to open the entire rest of the world in 2016,” Hastings said during an earnings interview broadcast at YouTube, noting that China remained uncertain.

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“China, again, we still have some things to figure so I suppose that’s possible.”

Netflix is to make its debut in Asia with a launch in Japan by November. It is slated to arrive in Spain, Italy, and Portugal in the final quarter of this year.

Along with investing in supporting more languages and show libraries tailored to various markets, Netflix is making a priority of optimizing its service on mobile devices since they are the main tools for accessing the Internet in emerging markets, according to the company.

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