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The way we watch content in our home theaters and living rooms is changing. Last week the LA Times reported that Netflix has surpassed Home Box Office (HBO) in total United States subscribers for the first time ever. The score is now Netfix: 31 million U.S. subscribers, HBO: 29. The international scene is still lopsided though, with HBO’s total international subscription base of 117 million trumping Netflix by almost 85 million. "As we grow, HBO is focusing on doing their incredible work … expanding more aggressively internationally," Hastings told the Times. "We hopefully grow a lot. I don't know when we will catch them."


Netflix feels much of its recent U.S. success has hinged on the arrival of its original content including Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, paired with exclusive access to other content from networks. In fact, yesterday, Netflix announced it has obtained exclusive rights to the hit show Dexter. They also cite recent changes to their technology platform allowing for subscribers to create profile accounts and receive suggestions for shows. The Times says that Netflix CFO David Wells hinted that Netflix will continue to expand its allotted budget for developing original content, doubling the amount they are currently spending over the next few years.

It should come as no surprise that HBO isn’t going to sit on its laurels and watch the landscape change. DSLReports.com has reported that an insider source says that cable giant Comcast and HBO are planning a streaming bundle designed to take a swing at Netfilx. The promotion, dubbed “Internet Plus,” is meant to make users considering “cutting the cable” think twice. It reportedly involves Comcast’s limited cable package (20 cable channels and Video OnDemand), StreamPix, broadband access, and HBO/HBO GO. The package should initially retail for $40-$50. That promo price rises to the $60-$70 range after twelve months, bumping up roughly another $10 six months later.


DSLReports says that HBO has historically been “stubborn” about offering singular access to just its streaming option. However, the website’s source indicates that the Comcast and HBO are looking to stave-off Netflix defectors. "Nearly a decade of promotional offer designs, and we have never had a limited basic/premium combination," says DSLReports’ source.

The struggle between traditional cable, premium channels, and streaming services has only just begun. Comcast has reportedly been looking into changing their cap and overage fee structure for internet access which could affected the desirability of streaming services. They’ve also been looking into licensing deals that would help keep them in control of original content. Stay tuned.

Image Credit: Netflix, HBO

Sources: Los Angeles Times, DSLReports.com
 

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Lets see I pay $20 per month for Netflix (streaming and Blu-Ray) vs $70 for cable? No way Jose. That is probably the reason Comcast is looking at placing a bandwidth cap on internet access. Force people to purchase cable. So much for free market.
 
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