Netflix Surpasses HBO in Subscriber Revenue: Streaming Service for Movies, TV Shows Still Trails in Profits
The online television and movie streaming service Netflix has passed premium cable network HBO in subscription revenue, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Netflix, which has more than 50 million streaming customers, reported $1.146 billion in earnings at the end of June, narrowly beating HBO's $1.141 billion. Hastings announced the news Wednesday on his Facebook page, calling the triumph a "minor milestone."
Two years earlier, HBO had around double the subscriber revenue of Netflix.
Time Warner executive Jeff Bewkes, who owns HBO within the conglomerate, famously denounced Netflix's potential in 2010 by describing their growth plan as similar to if "the Albanian army [was] going to take over the world."
Hastings took the opportunity to both boast of Netflix's accomplishment while simultaneously admit to where Bewkes' HBO still beats them.
"They still kick our ass in profits and Emmys, but we are making progress," Hastings wrote. "HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league."
In July, Netflix counted 36 million U.S. subscribers and HBO, along with its sister network Cinemax, claimed 43 million at the end of 2013. Despite the slight lead in revenue from subscriptions, HBO still dominated Netflix with $548 million in operating profit during the quarter that ended June 30, compared with $129.6 million.
With popular shows like "Orange Is the New Black" and "House of Cards," Netflix is growing at a faster rate than HBO. The $7.99 per month subscription likely seems more feasible than the pay-TV subscription premium.
Netflix began in 1997 as a mailed-DVD service, switching to streaming in 2007. HBO, whose history dates back to 1972, currently carries hit series like "True Detective," "Silicon Valley" and "Game of Thrones."
The 2014 Emmy nominations also tip toward HBO, who led all networks with 99 nominations. Netflix, while still strong at 31, only garnered around a third of HBO's recognition. Emmy winners will be announced Aug. 25 on NBC.
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