Tags: Netflix | movies | cable | partnerships

Netflix Said to Be in Discussions for Cable Partnerships

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 11:08 AM

Netflix Inc. is in talks to add its application to the set-top boxes of U.S. cable-television operators, letting customers search for Web-based movies and television shows alongside traditional programs, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The largest subscription-streaming service has had discussions with providers such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Negotiations are furthest along with regional providers and smaller cable operators that use TiVo Inc. set-top boxes, though the earliest announcements are weeks to months away, one person said.

The talks suggest cable operators increasingly see Netflix’s $7.99 monthly service as a tool to attract and retain customers, rather than a threat that will lead to cord-cutting. Integration with cable service would let viewers find and watch shows without switching inputs, and may help cable operators promote their own on-demand offerings, the people said.

Newer set-top boxes blend Internet-based programming with traditional pay television, a development that can fuel expansion if Netflix reaches accords with cable providers.

The Los Gatos, California-based company, with 35.6 million paying subscribers globally as of June, has signed two European cable systems after relying on game consoles, Blu-ray players, smartphones and Web-TV devices such as Roku for growth.

Ending Friction

“We would love to reduce the friction to the end consumer, and to be available via the existing device in the home, which is the set-top box,” Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells said in late September. U.S. cable operators have had an “open offer” to add Netflix for two years, he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Netflix’s discussions with Comcast and Suddenlink Communications yesterday.

Joris Evers, a Netflix spokesman, declined to comment on the talks, as did representatives Jennifer Khoury at Comcast and Bobby Amirshahi at Time Warner Cable. Pete Abel, a spokesman for Suddenlink, the seventh-largest U.S. cable operator, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Virgin Media, a U.K.-based unit of Liberty Media, and Sweden’s Com Hem recently announced they would offer Netflix as part of their rollout of TiVo set-top boxes in Europe. Under those deals, people still would have to sign up for the streaming service, and Netflix would control its own billing.

“Our partners are interested in delivering Netflix to their subscribers,” Steve Wymer, a TiVo spokesman, said earlier this month. “We stand ready to replicate our well-received offerings with Virgin and Com Hem with any partner or future partner.”

New Boxes

TiVo in summer began shipping new set-top boxes with faster processors that let users load Netflix’s service more quickly. Atlantic Broadband Finance LLC, owned by Montreal-based Cogeco Cable Inc., is the first U.S. provider to deploy TiVo’s most advanced set-top box, called Roamio, Wymer said in an e-mail. Older installed boxes may be upgraded to handle Netflix late this year or early in the first quarter, he said.

Netflix’s stock has more than tripled in value this year, making it the second-best performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, behind Best Buy Co. Netflix rose 2.6 percent to $308.72 at 10:06 a.m. New York time.

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Netflix Inc. is in talks to add its application to the set-top boxes of U.S. cable-television operators, letting customers search for Web-based movies and television shows alongside traditional programs, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Netflix,movies,cable,partnerships
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2013-08-14
Monday, 14 Oct 2013 11:08 AM
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