Netflix boosts subscriber numbers to nearly 140 million

Netflix finished the year with more than 139 million paid subscribers, almost tripling its membership base in just five years.

The streaming giant said it added 8.8 million customers in the three months to 21 December, up more than 6% from the prior quarter.

Revenue in the quarter jumped 27% from 2017 to almost $4.2bn (£3.2bn).

Television viewers in the US now spend about 10% of their time on Netflix, it added.

The firm also provided audience figures for some of its programmes.

The data offered investors a glimpse of the habits of Netflix customers, as it seeks to explain how its massive spending on content - much of it funded with debt - is paying off.

Analysts estimate that Netflix spent more than $13bn on movies and shows this year. including original titles such as Roma, Bird Box and the reality show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

"Our multi-year plan is to keep significantly growing our content while increasing our revenue faster to expand our operating margins," Netflix said in a shareholder letter tied to the earnings report.

"Our growth is based on how good our experience is," it said.