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Netflix (NFLX) shares soar after blockbuster Q4 earnings report

Netflix (NFLX) reported earnings that easily beat expectations, sending shares soaring in after-hours trading. Netflix posted an adjusted profit of 72 cents per share. Analysts had expected Netflix to report earnings of about 45 cents per share on $1.48 billion in revenue.

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    Reed Hastings, founder and chief executive of Netflix, attends a red carpet as Netflix launches its video streaming service in France, in Paris. Netflix (NFLX) blew past expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings, sending Netflix stock surging Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.
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Video streaming company Netflix reported earnings that easily beat expectations on Tuesday, sending shares soaring in after-hours trading.

The company posted an adjusted profit of 72 cents per share. Analysts had expected Netflix to report earnings of about 45 cents per share on $1.48 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Of 35 analysts polled, the most optimistic estimate for the quarter was for earnings of 52 cents per share. Shares rose almost 13 percent in after-hours trade on the news.

The company said U.S. subscriber numbers were in line with its forecast, while international subscribers came in ahead of expectations.

Netflix also said it can now profitably complete its international expansion over the next two years, sooner than expected.

In addition, Netflix said it will begin streaming the controversial Sony film "The Interview" this coming weekend for subscribers.

For the first quarter, the company forecast total streaming revenue of $1.398 billion, with 4.05 million net member additions.

When the streaming video service announced its third-quarter results in October, shares plummeted. One analyst predicted ahead of Tuesday's announcement that this figure could provide a buying opportunity.

"We believe another miss on subscriber estimates may cause shares to drop another 10 percent to 15 percent and will likely heighten investors' perception and discussion of competitive risk," Stifel analyst Scott W. Devitt said last week. "However, we believe there is a positive risk-to-reward ratio at this time, given reset expectations, an exciting content cycle for 2015, and international growth opportunities."

Netflix first began its international expansion in 2010, but most recently entered parts of Western Europe in September. The company has said it plans to begin services in Australia and New Zealand in March of 2015.

This is a breaking news article. Please check back for updates on this story.

—CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.

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