Growth stocks can deliver explosive gains -- or sizable losses. A well-chosen growth stock can deliver multibagger returns and turbocharge your portfolio's overall performance. But choose poorly, and a premium-priced growth stock can produce painful losses should investors lose faith in its ability to fulfill its ultimate growth potential.

That's why it's so important to invest in only the best of these businesses -- those poised to benefit from undeniable long-term trends and enjoy the largest growth opportunities.

Read on to learn about one such businesses that meets these challenging criteria -- and one of the growth stocks best positioned to reward investors in the year, and years, ahead.

Person watching Netflix on a tablet

Image source: Netflix.

No company has benefited more from the cord-cutting trend than Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). From its beginnings as a DVD-rental-by-mail company in 1997 to its current position as the leading online video streaming network, Netflix's growth has been staggering. Along the way, shareholders have been well-rewarded.

NFLX Chart

NFLX data by YCharts.

More important for today's investor, though, is that far more gains lie ahead. In early 2016, Netflix completed a major international expansion that brought its streaming service to an additional 130 countries. With its services now available in almost every major market in the world, Netflix has become a truly global Internet TV business -- a position that should allow the company to grow steadily for many years to come.

Even better, with the company's market-opening investments largely completed, management has said that investors can expect Netflix to generate "material global profits" beginning in 2017.

Well, in case you haven't noticed, it's 2017 -- and Netflix has already begun to deliver on its promise.

Netflix's fourth-quarter earnings surged 50% year over year on a 36% spike in revenue. Moreover, the company added 5.1 million net new international subscribers in the quarter, well above its guidance of 3.2 million.

Better still, Netflix has tremendous growth potential still ahead. The company ended 2016 with 93.8 million members, which represents only slightly more than 10% of the 884 million fixed broadband subscriptions in existence worldwide as of the end of 2016 -- according to the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union -- and less than 3% of the more than 3.6 billion mobile broadband subscriptions.

Netflix is well-positioned to capture the lion's share of the online video streaming industry's growth. Its global content distribution system is now in place, and the low cost of its service should continue to bring in new subscribers and shield Netflix from the competition. The company is also ramping up its popular original programming, an effort aided by Netflix's valuable data-collection system that allows it to effectively invest in shows with a high probability of becoming popular among its member base.

As such, I expect Netflix to remain the primary beneficiary of the cord-cutting phenomenon -- a trend that appears likely to accelerate this year as a steadily increasing number of TV watchers cancel their traditional cable subscriptions in favor of internet streaming options. And with its stock trading at about $140 today, Netflix's current $60 billion market cap still understates its ability to continue to take share in a global TV market that's projected to top $300 billion by 2020, according to ABI Research.  In turn, investors who buy Netflix stock today are likely to profit handsomely in the coming years.

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.