That helped lift profit more than threefold to 89 cents a share, beating the 68-cent average of analysts' estimates.
Netflix added seven million new subscriptions, two million more than it had forecast in July, bringing its customer base to 137.1 million. The company, founded in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service, posted its strongest years of subscriber growth in 2016 and again in 2017 - in its 20th and 21st years of operation. It added 6.96 million new subscribers, exceeding expectations and coming in particular relief after the company disappointed during its previous quarter.
The company added 7 million subscribers in the September, exceeding its conservative forecast for 5 million net additions to the service in the third quarter. But despite those concerns, and last quarter's subscriber wobble, Netflix shares have risen 78% this year, as consumers continue to move away from traditional media and access more content online.
The future is looking even brighter for Netflix as the video streaming outfit forecast paid net additions of 7.6 million and total net additions of 9.4 million, up 15 percent and 13 percent compared to the 6.6 million and 8.3 million from the year-ago quarter.
"It was a surprisingly good quarter that caught a lot of the financial community off guard", said Jim Nail, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. "However, given Netflix's longtime leadership and extensive content library, competitors will be hard-pressed to build streaming businesses that can aspire to become market leaders". Sales grew 34 percent to $4 billion, meeting Wall Street forecasts. Netflix said it signed up roughly 1.1 million subscribers in the United States, above analysts' estimate of 674,000, according to Refinitiv. The shares are up 80 per cent this year.
In typical Netflix form, the company didn't provide detailed statistics about how many people watched individual titles, nor did it give hard numbers for the size of the audience for To All the Boys.
"We expect solid 3Q18 results, led in part by Netflix adding a record number of Originals programming hours", Blackledge wrote.
"We'll take it at a million at a time", CEO Reed Hastings told a post-earnings interview of subscriber growth in India, which Netflix declines to break out, citing competitive factors.
Rivals have long groused that Netflix can spend ungodly sums without ever having to make money itself. While most of that still funds shows licensed from other companies, original programs account for a growing share.
Netflix has upended the economics of pay TV by offering customers thousands of programs on-demand for a monthly fee that's a fraction of the cost of a multichannel cable or satellite package.
Analysts keep setting the ceiling and Netflix keeps crashing through it.