Netflix ( NFLX) trounced Wall Street's earnings expectations for the fourth quarter as it boosted its subscriber count jumped 18% from a year earlier, toward the high end of its forecasts.The online DVD rental outfit also offered an outlook for the current quarter that was in line with Wall Street's expectation. Netflix's fourth-quarter earnings climbed 6% to $15.8 million, or 24 cents a share, from $14.9 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier. That far exceeded the company's October forecast for earnings of 9 cents to 16 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted earnings of 14 cents a share. The company's revenue jumped to $302.4 million from the prior year's $277.2 million, topping Netflix's guidance of $297 million to $302 million. Analysts, on average, were looking for a top line of $302 million. Netflix ended the quarter with 7.48 million subscribers, up 18% from a year earlier and 6% from the end of the third quarter. The company's forecasts -- which were raised in October -- called for a year-end subscriber count of 7.3 million to 7.5 million customers. Those customer additions came at a lower cost than in past quarters. Subscriber acquisition costs dropped to $34.60 per gross subscriber addition from $44.31 a year earlier and $37.91 in the third quarter. Churn, or customer losses, rose to 4.1% in the quarter from 3.9% the prior year. Churn improved slightly from 4.2% in the third quarter. The company, under pressure from rival Blockbuster ( BBI) and Apple's ( AAPL) iTunes, has had a rocky year, cutting prices to undercut competition. Most recently, it began an initiative to offer subscribers unlimited streaming movies on their computers. "We achieved strong results in 2007 -- ending subscribers up 18 percent, revenue up 21 percent and net income up 36 percent -- despite facing tough competition for much of the year and investing strategically in our online video initiatives," said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive. Looking ahead, Netflix forecast first-quarter earnings of 13 cents to 21 cents a share, bracketing analysts' average forecast of 15 cents. The company sees revenue of $323 million to $328 million, above Wall Street's $320 million target. Netflix sees full-year earnings of $1.12 to $1.24 a share and revenue of $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion. Analysts see earnings of 90 cents a share and revenue of $1.31 billion. The company expects to end the first quarter with 7.85 million to 8.05 million subscribers, and end 2008 with 8.4 million to 8.9 million subscribers.