By the end of 2015, Netflix had 74.76 million users worldwide and the service says it expects to see another 6.1 million users signing up in the first quarter.

The surge in users during the fourth quarter is the largest Netflix has ever seen. Original projections pegged the number of new users at 5.15 million but this figure was exceeded as 5.59 million users signed up for the service.

Unfortunately, its not all good news for Netflix. Net income fell 51% from $83.3 million in December 2014 to $43.1 million in December 2015. This comes as a result of an increase in the number of countries the service expanded to in 2015 which lost the firm $109 million.

The firm said to shareholders that material global profits should be seen by 2017.

Due to high market penetration in the United States, growth has slowed from 1.9 million in 2014 to just 1.56 million in 2015. Issues such as new credit and debit card rollover, and an increase in pricing have been cited as reasons for the slow down in US growth.

This may not be as big a problem in the rest of the world given that Netflix launched two weeks ago in 130 countries but is something to for shareholders to keep in mind as the service gets older and it becomes harder to attract new subscribers.

In an attempt to attract the 6.1 million new subscribers, Netflix plans to release 600 hours of original programming including new seasons for 30 original series, eight new feature films and 12 documentaries, a dramatic increase from the 450 hours goal set last year.

Whether this new programming will be made available globally remains to be seen but if Netflix does begin clamping down on proxy services and “unblockers” used to access foreign Netflix territories, they may find growing globally to be tough going.

[Source – Netflix] [Image CC by 2.0 – Mike K]