Netflix last night reported a strong jump in profits and better-than-expected growth in users in the past quarter, sparking a rally in shares of the streaming television market leader. 

Netflix said it gained almost seven million new users worldwide, to bring its total membership to more than 137 million. 

Profit in the quarter more than tripled from a year ago to $403m while revenues grew 34% to $4 billion. 

Investors pushed up Netflix shares by 12% in after-hours trade, following a disappointing second-quarter report that sent the stock reeling. 

"Our broad slate of original programming helped drive a solid quarter of growth," Netflix said in a letter to shareholders. 

The Silicon Valley company has been ramping up its investment in original programming as it faces increased competition from rivals like Hulu and Amazon, and traditional media firms begin to enter the market for streaming and limit content to outside parties. 

"We've come a long way in the five years since launching original content on Netflix," the statement said. 

"In addition to our commercial success, we're ecstatic when the creators we work with are recognised for their inspiring work. This year, Netflix originals led with 112 Emmy nominations spanning 40 of our shows," it added. 
               
Netflix has said it plans to invest some $8 billion in original content.