It's no secret that Netflix sees itself as a viable challenger to HBO, but the web-based company has so far declined to release viewership data to back up its claims. According to Bloomberg, however, Netflix may have already overtaken its rival in one key metric: paid US subscribers.
According to analysis from Needham & Co., it's likely that Netflix's paid US subscriber base reached 30 million by the end of September. That may be enough to overtake HBO, which has an estimated 28.7 million subscribers in the US, according to analysts at SNL Kagan. Averaging estimates from eight analysts, Bloomberg projects that Netflix likely reached 31 million US subscribers in the latest fiscal quarter.
"Over the coming decades and across the world, internet TV will replace linear TV."
In its fiscal Q2 earnings report this year, Netflix said it had more than 29 million US subscribers and expected to add between 230,000 and 880,000 in Q3. The company will announce its Q3 earnings after markets close today.
Netflix made a bold push into original programming with series like Orange is the New Black and the Emmy award-winning House of Cards. The company plans to expand its original content offerings next year — it announced a forthcoming untitled thriller series earlier this month — and sees it as a critical part of its long-term strategy to challenge HBO and other traditional networks. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix is negotiating a deal with US cable companies that would put its video streaming app on set-top boxes.
"Over the coming decades and across the world, internet TV will replace linear TV," Netflix said in an updated long-term view statement published last month. "Apps will replace channels, remote controls will disappear, and screens will proliferate."