Shares in Netflix hit record highs after the streaming giant passed 200m subscribers and revealed it no longer needs debt to fund shows.

The US tech firm, which makes The Crown and Bridgerton, amassed 203.7m paying customers by the end of 2020.

That was up from 167.1m at the start of the year, after lockdowns fuelled demand for home entertainment.

Netflix, which makes shows such as The Crown and Bridgerton (pictured), said it had amassed 203.7m paying customers by the end of 2020 - up from 167.1m at the start of the year

Netflix, which makes shows such as The Crown and Bridgerton (pictured), said it had amassed 203.7m paying customers by the end of 2020 - up from 167.1m at the start of the year

Netflix, which makes shows such as The Crown and Bridgerton (pictured), said it had amassed 203.7m paying customers by the end of 2020 – up from 167.1m at the start of the year

Netflix expects the figure to rise to 209.7m by the end of March. 

Pointing to a war chest of £6billion in cash and an unused £550million overdraft, it said: ‘We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operation.’

It may even return cash to shareholders through stock buybacks. Its shares soared as much as 15 per cent higher to a record of nearly $578 (£423).

Netflix has spent the past decade ploughing billions of pounds into exclusive content, by borrowing an eye-watering £12billion, arguing that it would eventually amass enough viewers to pay its way.

However, it faces tough competition from rival Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, which has amassed 87m subscribers in 14 months.

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This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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