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April 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Agreements with major studios to withhold new movie releases from its subscribers for four weeks have apparently had no effect on NetFlix’s bottom line. In fact, on Thursday the online movie rental company reported a blowout first quarter in which it added 1.7 million new users, bringing its total to nearly 14 million — more than nearly all the U.S. cable systems (except for Comcast and Time Warner) with which it indirectly competes for the home-entertainment dollar. (Conceivably Netflix subscribers could watch a movie every night of the week for a fraction of what they would have to pay for cable.) Word of the jump in subscriptions together with company projections of an additional increase of 700,000 by the end of the second quarter sent Netflix stock soaring 16.7 percent on Thursday to $101.46, an all-time high. Nevertheless, several Wall Street analysts cautioned that Netflix could face serious obstacles in the near future from RedBox, the $1-a-night kiosk operator, as well as online streaming services — not to mention stepped-up marketing efforts by brick-and-mortar houses like Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Hollywood Video, each of which continues to offer movies for rent beginning the same day they go on sale.