Netflix vs. HBO

Variety reported this week that Netflix had passed HBO in total U.S. subscriptions in the first quarter of 2013. According to the trade publication, Netflix now has 29.17 million U.S. customers, up two million from the end of 2012. HBO is said to have a bit less than 29 million subscribers in the U.S., through it maintains a substantial lead outside the United States.

Generally, I'm not a fan of inflection point coverage. Tablets don't change everything overnight; the number of eBooks sold can exceed hardcover sales without forever changing publishing.

But, a service growing at 7% a quarter may signal an interest in unbundling some of the more costly, less flexible program offerings that characterize HBO and other cable networks. Digital technologies lower the minimum level of aggregation required to deliver content.

As that happens, new and different forms of content can be sold cost-effectively. That was part of the thinking behind yesterday's post, "Disaggregating supply". Inflection point or not, we're on solid ground if we start preparing for a more flexible future.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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