Netflix's (NFLX -0.83%) recent fiscal 2022 third-quarter earnings beat Wall Street's expectations, triggering an almost 15% after-hours climb in its share price. The company reported 2.4 million new subscribers in the quarter, far exceeding analyst expectations of 1.1 million. And with that growth coming before the streamer has implemented specific strategies designed to boost subscriber numbers, there are several good reasons for investors to pay attention to Netflix right now.

Netflix is tackling account sharing

Netflix has long had a lax approach to account sharing. The company's terms of service explicitly prohibit the sharing of log-ins between households, but it has never truly cracked down on the activity. The streamer changed its stance earlier this year after experiencing its first drop in subscribers for more than a decade.

Management has been testing two strategies across several Spanish-language countries, charging members more if their accounts are accessed at secondary addresses. In the company's third-quarter earnings call, it announced it would roll out a more-global response to the issue in early 2023, though it is yet to disclose just what form that will take.

An ad-supported tier is on the way

Another aspect of Netflix's growth strategy is its upcoming ad-supported tier. Dubbed Basic With Ads, the $6.99 monthly plan launches Nov. 3, and will provide users with access to most (but not all) of the company's library, accompanied by approximately five minutes of ads for each hour of viewed programming.

There are some other caveats that could be a turnoff for some -- content will be limited to 720 HD and there's no option to download content for offline viewing -- but the streamer is seemingly confident that the offering will be a winner with consumers. Reports indicate Netflix expects Basic With Ads will bring in 40 million new customers by the end of the third quarter of 2023.

Netflix has big gaming ambitions

While Netflix is honing its video-on-demand offerings, the company is also putting more focus on its burgeoning gaming business. It launched a games hub in November 2021, with mobile titles that its customers can download to their iOS or Android devices. Netflix is yet to publicly disclose user numbers, but reports earlier this year show that fewer than 1% of subscribers are actually playing those games.

Regardless of the low take-up rate, the company has said all along that gaming is a top priority, calling it a key to growth. But with the relatively underwhelming showing so far, some investors might wonder what Netflix can do to position itself as a serious contender in video games.

Mike Verdu, Netflix's vice president for game development, recently appeared at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, where he said the company is "very seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering." For the uninitiated, cloud gaming services let players stream titles over the internet, allowing for real-time play via a connected device such as a tablet, laptop, or smart TV.

As a streaming company, Netflix has plenty of experience delivering large volumes of data to customers via internet pipes.Through this lens, an expansion into cloud gaming certainly seems to be in the company's wheelhouse.

That's not to say such a move will be easy. OnLive, a cloud-gaming company, launched in 2010 promising high-end, console-free gaming. But within a couple of years, it ran into problems and was effectively sold for parts in 2015. More recently, Alphabet's Google has announced its Stadia cloud-gaming platform will shut down in early 2023, with the company promising to reimburse customers for purchased titles.

For Netflix, the fates of both OnLive and Stadia will surely be top of mind as it considers whether cloud gaming is a risk worth taking. Still, big-name companies such as Microsoft and Nvidia have both moved into the space, and they're showing signs that cloud gaming can work. Microsoft claims over 10 million active users for its Xbox Cloud Gaming service, while Nvidia's GeForce Now has more than 20 million users. Those figures are far below the estimated 100 million gamers playing on Xbox consoles, but they do provide insight into where the industry is seemingly headed.

For investors, Netflix's third-quarter results clearly provide reasons to be upbeat about its prospects. The streamer has predicted it will add 4.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, something market observers will certainly watch for ahead. But with Netflix's gaming ambitions also coming into sharper focus, investors would do well to pay attention to what success others are (or are not) having in the world of cloud gaming.