updated 12:08 pm EDT, Mon October 21, 2013
Netflix passes HBO in subscribers
Movie and television streaming service Netflix has reportedly surpassed Time Warner-owned HBO in terms of overall subscriber base. This according to a new report from Bloomberg, which said that Netflix now has roughly 30 million paying US subscribers as of Sept. 30, while HBO has roughly 28.7 million. HBO is seen as the most successful premium channel on traditional television, as well as a natural rival for Netflix given the overlap in their services.
Netflix has been trying to continually expand its streaming offerings with content from traditional television sources, but the firm has also taken a page from HBO's book and begun developing its own original content. That development has seen the Reed Hastings-helmed service releasing new seasons of "Arrested Development" and its own new content like "Orange Is the New Black" and "House of Cards."
Netflix's Hastings has said that the company could grow to have between 60 million and 90 million viewers over time. The company believes it can achieve 50 million total subscribers worldwide over roughly the same period.
In the third quarter of this year, Netflix is thought to have added two million total subscribers. In the fourth quarter, analysts expect another 4.2 million to be added.
One way in which Netflix continues to attract customers is to increase the number of devices on which its service is available. Netflix is already an option on many smartphones and tablets, as well as devices like Roku and Apple TV. The company is also in talks with the cable companies to add a Netflix app to set-top boxes, bringing its service into even more homes.
While Netflix has surpassed HBO in terms of subscriber base, it likely still does not approach the television giant in terms of revenue. A long-established player in the premium television content segment, HBO's comparable subscriber numbers go hand in hand with a significantly higher subscription price, as well as sales of its content to other distributors.