On today's earnings call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings joked that HBO CEO Richard Plepler's HBO Go password is "Netflix bitch." The joke points to the growing rivalry between the companies; Netflix has been aggressively gunning for HBO's content quality and mindshare in recent years with its own original programming and competitive features. Taking a page from Netflix's indifference to account sharing, Plepler told BuzzFeed last Friday that the company doesn't mind if customers share their HBO Go passwords. When asked about HBO's stance, Hastings pretended to give out Plepler's username and password for everyone to enjoy.
HBO still enjoys a huge subscriber base, but is no longer king of premium TV subscriptions. Last October, Netflix's third quarter earnings revealed that the company passed HBO in domestic subscribers, reaching 31.1 million customers. The company continued its momentum in Q4, adding 2.33 million new US customers and bringing its total base to 33.42 million subscribers. Meanwhile, HBO is fighting negative reports about its own performance; yesterday, the company countered an NPD report that claimed the network is quickly losing viewers, calling it "simply incorrect."