April 22, 2013

Sign of the Times 2: Netflix the Network

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The other notable story of the day was contained in Netflix’s 1st Quarter 2013 financial report, which showed that the company grew by 3 million subscribers during that period (2M in the US and 1M more internationally).  That gives the company 29.2M US streaming subscribers, plus 7.1M overseas.  (DVD subscribers are shrinking, but that’s in accord with the company’s de-emphasis of its DVD business.)  The symbolic importance of the domestic number is that it gives Netflix 400,000 more subscribers than HBO, arguably making it America’s biggest pay-TV network.

This growth, of course, coincided with Netflix’s debut of original content with House of Cards.  One might be tempted to connect the two, but according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, House had only “a gentle impact” on subscriptions–and, in fact, he noted that the opening weekend streaming for the critically-reviled Hemlock Grove this past week has been stronger.  Still, the 835,000 ratings on the site for Cards indicates a substantial number of viewers, more than the audience for initial airing of last week’s Nurse Jackie, not to mention the season finale of Girls.  Hastings said that Netflix intends to launch 6-7 original shows this year, and even more in 2014, so this new mode of “television” is here to stay.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."