Netflix is on the verge of surpassing 100 million global subscribers, a testament to how much the video streaming service has changed the entertainment landscape since its debut a decade ago.
Netflix app on mobile phone (file picture).
The company will reach that milestone this weekend if its projections are correct. Netflix made the prediction today with the release of its first-quarter earnings.
The service added nearly five million subscribers during the first three months of the year, and will end March with 98.7 million customers in roughly 190 countries.
Over the past decade, "what really did it for Netflix was the explosion of phones and tablets that allowed people to watch video everywhere," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.
"But Netflix clearly had a vision before those devices became so ubiquitous."
About 51 million of Netflix's subscribers are in the US. By the end of this year, Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson expects the majority of the company's subscribers to be overseas. Netflix ended March with nearly 48 million subscribers outside the US.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expects the next 100 million subscribers to come more quickly than the first 100 million, but he didn't provide a specific timetable during online video review of the company's first quarter.
"Everybody watches TV and nearly everybody has the internet, so I don't see anything that's going to stop Netflix from getting to most people in the United States and then eventually hopefully most people around the world," Hastings said.
Progress toward that ambitious goal has helped drive the company's stock price progressively higher over the past five years. In that time, Netflix has added 72 million more subscribers.
The Los Gatos, California company currently has a market value of about $US63 billion ($NZ89 billion).
Its stock rose $US1.90 ($NZ$2.70) to $149.15 ($NZ212.68) in today's extended trading, even though subscriber growth during the first quarter came in slightly below management forecasts.