Netflix edges out HBO in quarterly subscription revenue for first time

hbo rides high netflix stock takes nose dive ceo hastings
Earlier this week, Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings announced via Facebook that the streaming service passed HBO in quarterly subscriber revenue. Netflix didn’t edge the veteran premium cable network by much ($1.146 billion vs. $1.141 billion) and, as Hastings himself notes in his post, there are myriad other factors at play when comparing the two services’ financial success. The news does, however, provide further evidence that Netflix is a growing force to be reckoned with.

Hastings managed to remain humble in his Facebook post, explaining that HBO “still kick[s] our ass in profits and Emmy’s, but we are making progress. HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league.” Netflix was nominated for 31 Emmys this year, more than double the 14 it received in 2013 (Netflix was the first-ever Web-based service to be nominated for its original programming). HBO, on the other hand, garnered an impressive 99 nominations, easily putting it at the top of the field. According to coverage by Quartz, HBO netted $548 million in overall profits last quarter while Netflix brought down a puny-by-comparison $71 million.

What makes this duel so interesting are the similarities and differences between the Netflix and HBO, and how the two services are transforming over time.

As VentureBeat noted in its coverage of Hastings’ announcement, Netflix is the darling of the over-the-top (OTT) industry and web-based video content providers, while HBO sits at the top of the pay-TV realm – after all, “It’s not TV, It’s HBO.” But these two services have begun to resemble each other more and more as Netflix continues to crank out solid original programming and HBO looks to provide viewers with more online outlets for its content, headlined by its wildly popular HBO GO app.

Netflix has a number of projects slated for the near future, including a stand-up/docu-comedy/talk show with Chelsea Handler, an original show featuring Marvel’s Daredevil, and an upcoming fifth season of Arrested Development. And on the other side of the coin, HBO has been cultivating its streaming app for the possibility of a solely broadband-delivered subscription model ready for whenever the public decides to stop tolerating cable. The service also pumped a fat bundle of classic content (including The Sopranos, The Wire, and Six Feet Under) into Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service back in May.

As leaders of their distinctive packs, both Netflix and HBO are blurring the lines in order to innovate and grow. As the video industry continues its awkward evolution into the next era, the two services are learning from each other, and looking more and more alike with each passing month . Score this round for Netflix.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

Not chill: Netflix is hiking prices across all its tiers

Netflix has to get the billions of dollars it's spending on new content from somewhere. The streaming giant announced price hikes across the board, raising its monthly rates between $1 and $2 per tier in the next few months.
Movies & TV

How much does Netflix cost? Here’s a pricing breakdown of its plans

Wondering how much a Netflix subscription costs? You're not the only one. That's why we put together a quick-hit guide covering all the Netflix plans, whether you want to opt for 4K streaming or a disc-based option.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Roku adds automatic sign-out mode, for those with regular houseguests

Being able to use a Roku device while staying at a hotel or Airbnb is awesome. What is less awesome is leaving yourself signed in after you leave. With a new automatic sign-out feature, Roku is making it easier to relax.

Apple may be developing a new iPod Touch to woo younger users

Apple may be developing its first new iPod touch model since 2015 as it aims to capture younger users who are not yet ready for their own smartphone, and expand its overall listening base in the future.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Home Theater

Cord-cutting has grown by 48 percent in 8 years, according to Nielsen

People are continuing to ditch cable but not all cord-cutters are the same. In fact, there are two distinct groups within the cord-cutting universe, with a very small, yet growing third group that's worth paying attention to.
Home Theater

All of the TVs getting Apple’s AirPlay 2 in 2019

This year, Apple made it clear it was done keeping its AirPlay wireless streaming technology to itself. With an open API, the way is clear for a plethora of third-party devices, including this growing list of TVs.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Buying Guides

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.