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Netflix's shares soar on Android, Nielsen news

Netflix's stock is setting all-time highs on positive earnings, Android-streaming upgrades, high Nielsen video placements...take your pick.

Today is one of those days when investors who sensed Netflix's potential years ago but didn't buy in may be kicking themselves.

The Web's top movie-rental service today saw its shares soar 7 percent to $247.55, and set a new all-time high for the company. Netflix shares have steadily risen since January 26, when the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that featured big gains in profits and subscribers.

Since then, Netflix shares have climbed more than 30 percent.

Sure, the news today about how Qualcomm will help enable Android handsets to playback Netflix's streaming video had something to do with the stock spike. But that's just one of the company's gold stars recently. Netflix is riding a wave of positive headlines during the past two weeks.

• On Friday, Nielsen reported that Netflix became the first paid Internet video service to break into the top 10 list of most visited Web sites.

• In December, Whitney Tilson, of hedge fund T2 partners, slammed Netflix's management and the company's prospects for competing for viewers but last week said surveys showing Netflix's high customer satisfaction helped change his view and he has now stopped shorting the stock.

• In fourth quarter, Netflix added more than 3 million subscribers and surpassed the 20 million total-subscriber mark earlier than many on Wall Street had anticipated.

But investors should pay careful attention to how successful Netflix is at acquiring movies and TV shows for the company's burgeoning streaming service. Some executives from film studios and TV networks argue that supplying Netflix with content only serves to lower the value of content and undermines distribution partners that pay more to content creators, such as cable pay TV services.

Some of the predict Netflix could see the flow of content slow to a trickle.