Co. shares up 3% with more people signing up overall

NEW YORK — Online rental shop Netflix continues its breakneck pace, announcing Thursday that it had picked up an extra 450,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2004 to end the quarter with some 1.93 million subscribers.

Company cited low churn, a new TV ad campaign and online acquisitions for the unusually healthy gain, which reps a hefty 84% increase over the same period in 2003.

Shares of the Los Gatos, Calif.-based DVD subscription service rose $1.24, or 3.63%, to $35.36.

Netflix also reported that household penetration in its core San Francisco Bay area rose to 7.2% of all homes at the end of the quarter, compared with 4.6% a year earlier and 5.9% at the end of December. Nationwide, company reached 1.7% of all homes, up from 1.3% at the end of fourth quarter 2003.

Company is due to report its financials for the first three months of the year on April 15, when the company is expected to show a loss of around $4 million on total sales of just under $100 million.

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