Longtime rivals Netflix and HBO are neck-and-neck when it comes to U.S. subscribers.
Netflix yesterday revealed its quarterly earnings for Q1 2013, and things are looking good for the streaming and video-on-demand company. The company revealed that it added 2.03 million members compared to 2.05 million in the prior quarter and 1.74 million in Q1 2012. The company also talked up the success of its original show House of Cards, claiming that its decision to launch all 13 episodes at once "created enormous media and social buzz" thereby reinforcing the company's brand.
However, perhaps the most interesting piece of information thing about Netflix's growth did not come from Netflix itself. Variety reports that Netflix now boasts more U.S. users than HBO. The site reports that while Netflix had 27.15 subscribers in 2012, HBO ended 2012 with 28.7 million subscribers. The 2.03 million from Q1 2013 puts Netflix ahead of HBO. While it may not be for long (after all, we've yet to hear HBO's Q1 results), it's the first time Netflix's subscribers at home have surpassed HBO's.
Of course, as Variety points out, HBO still has Netflix beaten when it comes to global subscribers. Founded in 1997, Netflix didn't launch in Canada until 2010. After that, it saw multiple international launches in quick succession, expanding to Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the UK and Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Despite this rapid expansion over the last two years, Netflix's global subscriber base has yet to match its American numbers. According to CEO Reed Hastings, the company currently has 7.1 million international subscribers accounting for 14 percent of global revenue. HBO, on the other hand, has 114 million international subscriptions.