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.