6:40pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Milestone: Netflix Now Head-To-Head With Comcast

In its latest quarterly earnings report, Netflix said it now has 23.6 million subscribers globally. As GigaOm reports that makes it the largest subscrition video service in North America:

In the first quarter, Netflix added 3.6 million subscribers, ending the period with more than 23.6 million subscribers in total. That was up 69 percent from the 14 million subscribers it had a year ago. To put that into context: Comcast ended 2010 with 22.8 million pay TV subscribers. While it's always possible that the cable company could report subscriber additions in the first quarter, it's unlikely to do so, given its declines over the last several quarters.

CNet reports that in the United States, Comcast and NetFlix are tied at 22.8 million subscribers. The Los Angeles Times says the latest report just underlines how big a threat Netflix has become to the traditional business model:

In a letter to shareholders accompanying the results, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings and Chief Financial Officer David Wells suggested that film and television studios shouldn't view their success as a threat. Executives at some companies such as Time Warner have argued that selling films and television shows to Netflix undermines other established businesses such as pay cable networks and syndication.

But the Netflix executives pointed out that subscribers to cable and satellite television services grew late last year despite their company's success. "Looking at it from all of these angles, content owners that license to Netflix make more money — now and in the future - -than content owners who don't license to Netflix," Hastings and Wells wrote.

In the report the company said it expected to have betweeen 24 and 24.8 million subscribers by June 30 and its net income is expected to be between $50 million and $62 million. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.