NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Netflix's ( NFLX) stock could take a hit when the company reports its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. With Netflix stock having more than tripled in 2010, the movie rental retailer will need to significantly surpass Wall Street's estimates in order to keep shares at lofty levels. This could prove to be difficult. Netflix reported a drop in third quarter earnings to 70 cents a share from 80 cents in the second-quarter, as subscriber growth was offset by heavy spending on its streaming catalog. As a result, while the company added 2 million new subscribers during the third quarter, that didn't translate to higher profits. It is estimated that Netflix's deal with EPIX costs about $190 million annually. Its Starz partnership costs $30 million and is expected to jump to $200 million if renewed. Netflix's other movie content costs about $60 million. Then there is another $50 million for television content. "We do not believe postage savings will fully offset spiraling content costs, especially as new competition emerges," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, wrote in a note. Netflix could end up adding more than 2.5 million new subscribers during the fourth quarter (its biggest quarterly gain in history), but analysts say even this record growth might not be enough. The company has been attempting to wean users off physical DVDs as it openly moves from a DVD-by-mail company to a streaming company. During the quarter, Netflix began offering a streaming-only plan for $7.99 per month and raised prices on its DVD rental plans. And last week Netflix announced on its blog that it is removing its "Add to Queue" button from streaming devices. Analysts are expecting Netflix to earn 71 cents a share on revenue of $598 million. This compares to a profit of $30.9 million, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $445 million, in the fourth quarter last year. --Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jeanine Poggi. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jpoggi. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.