Market Overview

Will Netflix Overtake HBO?

Will Netflix Overtake HBO?

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) may have just become the largest paid entertainment service in America.

According to Bloomberg, Netflix had 30 million paid subscribers in the United States as of September 30.

HBO, the pay-TV network owned by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), is reportedly below Netflix with 28.7 million subscribers.

Investors may not know exactly how many subscribers HBO has until Time Warner reports its third-quarter earnings results on Wednesday, November 6. But they will get the full scoop on Netflix after the market close Monday (October 21) when the streaming video giant reports its third-quarter results.

If Netflix is successful in topping HBO, this would be the first step toward achieving the company's biggest goal.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has not tried to conceal the fact that he is afraid of HBO's digital platform, HBO Go. This year he said that Netflix's goal was to "become HBO faster than HBO can become us."

That strategy could be working. Netflix introduced a handful of new series this year, including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and gained exclusive access to the fourth season of Arrested Development. Netflix has also commissioned a number of original specials with standup comics.

This is the same path that HBO took in its journey to become the number-one pay-TV service. Netflix wants to achieve a similar level of success.

Netflix has some unfair advantages, however. While HBO is tied to cable (consumers cannot get the service without it), Netflix can be used by anyone with an Internet connection.

There is a Netflix app for nearly every device imaginable. No other streaming video service can make that claim. Not even Hulu, the biggest site for streams of current TV episodes, is on as many devices as Netflix.

HBO Go is currently available for just three TV-connected devices -- Xbox 360, Apple TV (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Roku. Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) does not support HBO Go on Roku, however.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple Apple TV Arrested Development HBO HBO GoNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga


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