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Netflix plans price hike for new U.S. customers

Susie Ochs | April 22, 2014
Netflix announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2014 on Monday, adding 4 million new streaming subscribers to bring its total subscriber base to more than 48 million. That's still significantly less than HBO's 130 million subscribers, but Netflix's streaming revenue topped $1 billion--that's a major milestone, since no individual quarter in 2013 cracked the billion-dollar revenue mark.

Season 2 premiere dates are locked in for Ricky Gervais's series Derek (May 30) and Orange Is the New Black (June 6) — in fact, the season 2 trailer for Orange Is the New Black has already racked up nearly 6.5 million views on YouTube in just four days.

Internationally, Netflix is seeing strong growth, driven in part by its ability to show first-run American TV series. By releasing a new episode every week, international customers don't have to wait for a season to be over before they can watch the whole thing. Netflix can get episodes to those audiences within anywhere from 24 hours to seven days of their airing in the States — international markets saw the last season of AMC's Breaking Bad on Netflix within days of each episode's U.S. airing, and new series premiering that way include spinoff Better Call Saul, as well as From Dusk Till Dawn (currently playing on cable channel El Rey), and FX's new Fargo series.

ISP performance and the great Comcast shakedown

"Comcast is providing a much improved Netflix experience to their broadband subscribers," the shareholder letter mentioned, while calling out AT&T's fiber-based U-verse as having surprisingly poor performance compared to smaller DSL ISPs like Frontier, CenturyLink, and Windstream.

AT&T wrote a blog post last month saying that Netflix's delivery cost should be borne by Netflix and not by the ISPs upgrading their networks to handle Netflix's volume of traffic, but the comments include tons of Netflix customers pointing out that they pay AT&T plenty for access to the Internet, which should include Netflix. Netflix officially opposes the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger, even while "reluctantly" paying interconnection fees to large ISPs like Comcast to ensure a quality streaming experience.


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