It's not exactly a reversal of fortune along the lines of the Red Wedding, but Netflix probably feels like the House Lannister to HBO's House Stark after surpassing the cable channel in subscriber revenue for the first time.
That's according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who took to Facebook to mark what he called the "minor milestone." Netflix claims $1.146 billion in subscriber revenue to HBO's $1.141 billion. "They still kick our ass in profits and Emmy's [sic]," Hastings added, "but we are making progress."
HBO also kicks Netflix's posterior when it comes to total subscribers. Factor in all of its services — that includes Cinemax and HBO 2 — HBO has 127 million subscribers worldwide. Netflix only has 48 million. (Domestically, of course, Netflix passed HBO in U.S. subscribers late last year.)
But Netflix is certainly enjoying its share of momentum. A handy chart prepared by Quartz shows subscription revenues rising rapidly for Netflix over the past two years while HBO's has grown at a fairly flat pace. Subscriber growth has mirrored that pattern: HBO added 2 million paying customers in 2013, Netflix added more than 12 million in the 12 months between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014. Even a recent fee hike for new Netflix subscribers hasn't slowed the streaming video company's growth.
The bottom line: This won't be the last victory Netflix enjoys over HBO, as the streaming company continues to grow exponentially faster than its established cable rival. Winter may not be coming for the cable home of Game of Thrones, but you can forgive HBO if it feels a little chill in the air.
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