Netflix in position to surpass HBO in paid subscriber count by year's end

By on October 21, 2013, 10:30 AM
netflix, reed hastings, set-top box, hbo, subscribers, streaming media

Netflix is in prime position to overtake HBO in terms of paid subscribers in the US, a significant milestone for a web-based “television provider.” The video streaming service, which started life as a DVD-by-mail rental provider, likely reached 31 million subscribers during the third quarter (including free trials) according to a poll of analysts as reported by Bloomberg.

If accurate, the increase would represent a four percent boost from the 29.8 million total subscribers reported last quarter. Breaking it down further, the world’s largest subscription video service likely topped 30 million paying customers in the quarter which is up from 28.6 million during the quarter-ago period.

Key to Netflix’s recent growth has been its involvement in original programming like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Sony Pictures Television recently announced plans to produce a psychological thriller for Netflix, we’re told. But even with the increase in subscribers, CEO Reed Hastings isn’t resting on his laurels.

Instead, he is reportedly in negotiations with cable providers to add a Netflix streaming app to set-top boxes. Just last week, rumors surfaced that Netflix was holding active conversations on the subject with Comcast, Suddenlink Communications, Cox Communications, RCN Telecom Services and Atlantic Broadband Finance LLC.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible correctly points out that there is nothing stopping somebody with a cable plan today from getting Netflix but people will use it a lot more if it’s integrated into their set-top box. Convenience is key and for those without a Roku box, Apple TV, Smart TV or game console to deliver Netflix on the big screen, set-top box integration makes perfect sense.




User Comments: 7

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4 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Has anyone else kinda stopped using Netflix for movies and now just uses it for TV shows? I've found their movie selection to be so lacking I don't even consider them a source for movies anymore, and as a result I don't watch many movies. Maybe their interface just needs better browsing. Us old folks (used to Blockbuster stores) are used to New Releases to mean new movies that used to be in the theater that are now available to view at home. On Netflix, 'New Release' means new to Netflix, which means it's probably a B movie that no one would ever pay to see, or something old that is now available to stream.

Pioneer Pioneer said:

Has anyone else kinda stopped using Netflix for movies and now just uses it for TV shows? I've found their movie selection to be so lacking I don't even consider them a source for movies anymore, and as a result I don't watch many movies. Maybe their interface just needs better browsing. Us old folks (used to Blockbuster stores) are used to New Releases to mean new movies that used to be in the theater that are now available to view at home. On Netflix, 'New Release' means new to Netflix, which means it's probably a B movie that no one would ever pay to see, or something old that is now available to stream.

I almost never watch movies alone except for those rare occasions where I am watching television and it catches my attention. Let alone the ones on Netflix for the reasons you mention. I like using it for watching a series in consecutive order, a luxury that television airing times can make difficult.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Has anyone else kinda stopped using Netflix for movies and now just uses it for TV shows? I've found their movie selection to be so lacking I don't even consider them a source for movies anymore, and as a result I don't watch many movies. Maybe their interface just needs better browsing. Us old folks (used to Blockbuster stores) are used to New Releases to mean new movies that used to be in the theater that are now available to view at home. On Netflix, 'New Release' means new to Netflix, which means it's probably a B movie that no one would ever pay to see, or something old that is now available to stream.

I've found it to be hit and miss lately, but getting better. I've seen a variety of titles pop up on Netflix that are also in the new category at Redbox, so it's not like there is a massive delay in some cases.

The problem generally isn't Netflix and their choices - if it was up to Netflix they'd have every new title the moment it is available on DVD. What titles they are allowed to show, and when they are provided, is totally up to the studios and locked into their contracts. While there might be ways to renegotiate for quicker and more widespread availability on streaming, as long as a particular studio doesn't have an exclusive with (or interest in) a competing streaming service. But the cost of those more open terms would probably mean a substantial bump in what we pay for Netflix service, and consumers always resist rate increases - considering how many people consider Netflix one of the alternatives to help avoid cable companies and their ever-increasing rates, it would be counterproductive for Netflix to hike theirs too.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The problem generally isn't Netflix and their choices - if it was up to Netflix they'd have every new title the moment it is available on DVD. What titles they are allowed to show, and when they are provided, is totally up to the studios and locked into their contracts.
Which provides the weakest stance against piracy.

Guest said:

Netflix is only allowed to show the films there are able to buy with the 7.99 of the suscription.

I hope someday they sign with bbc like hulu did, those kind of programs is what netflix lacks.

MilwaukeeMike said:

I've found it to be hit and miss lately, but getting better. I've seen a variety of titles pop up on Netflix that are also in the new category at Redbox, so it's not like there is a massive delay in some cases.

The problem generally isn't Netflix and their choices - if it was up to Netflix they'd have every new title the moment it is available on DVD. But the cost of those more open terms would probably mean a substantial bump in what we pay for Netflix service, and consumers always resist rate increases - considering how many people consider Netflix one of the alternatives to help avoid cable companies and their ever-increasing rates, it would be counterproductive for Netflix to hike theirs too.

Oh, I know why they don't have the newest movies. I understand I'm paying for 30 days of unlimited watching with the same amount of money that would get me 2 new releases at blockbuster. I just wish they had a section for movies that were in the theater, even if it was a few years ago.

p51d007 said:

Watching movies on netflix is only good for the first month or two after you get it.

I use it more for watching a tv series during the summer when the weather is bad. Just fire up a series (1/2 ones are the best, 20 minutes each). No commercials, you can watch the entire series in an afternoon.

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