Netflix Passes HBO in Number of Subscribers in the US

Image: Netflix Passes HBO in Number of Subscribers in the US

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 07:01 PM

By David Ogul

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Netflix has surpassed cable television giant HBO in U.S. subscribers, and investors are swarming to the company and driving up its stock price.

The world’s largest online streaming service reported its subscription base in the U.S. has exceeded 30 million; HBO has about 28.7 million.

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Netflix stock, meanwhile, is up 430 percent over the past 12 months, and its third-quarter earnings came in at 52 cents per share, CNN reported. Reported sales were $1.1 billion. Netflix is expecting earnings of up to 73 cents per share in the fourth quarter.

Netflix added almost 1.3 million new subscribers nationwide during the third quarter and 1.44 million overseas. In all, the company has more than 40 million subscribers across the globe.

Bloomberg is reporting that Netflix wants to move into cable television, and cable providers are taking notice.

“Consumers are probably going to come see Netflix as being more valuable than other networks,” Tony Wible, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets told Bloomberg News.

Much like HBO did some 30 years ago, Netflix is finding the key to its success is in original programming. Its critically acclaimed series "House of Cards" won the Emmy Award for director David Fincher, and the prison drama "Orange Is the New Black" has won rave reviews from fans posting on myriad social networking sites. The company says Sony Television Pictures is in the process of producing a psychological thriller for the company.

Netflix opened Tuesday at nearly $400 a share, but dropped as the day wore on to less than $330 by the afternoon.

Some are wondering if Netflix is overvalued. Bloomberg quoted Bank of America analysts as saying that to justify a price of $400 per share, the company would need 140 million global customers, as well as increasing prices and boosting profit margins.

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