Netflix Beats HBO On Number Of Subscribers In The US

Aric Mitchell

Netflix has surpassed HBO for the very first time in the number of US subscribers, Variety reported Monday.

The website noted that the streaming and mail-order DVD and Blu-ray company's first quarterly earnings reports showed a two million subscriber increase from the end of 2012 at 29.17 million.

HBO boasted 28.7 million US subscribers at the end of 2012. First quarter reports for premium channels will be released early next month from data analysts SNL Kagan.

HBO still wins in overall business thanks to a strong showing overseas.

Globally, it boasts 114 million subscriptions compared to just 36 million for Netflix, but today's earnings report also reflected a one million subscriber jump internationally, so there is some positive momentum on which to build.

Netflix has grown significantly thanks to a combination of smart licensing deals and a small but strong foray into original programming.

House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey has earned strong critical praise and inspired a slate of original programming that includes the horror-drama Hemlock Grove and a fourth season of the beloved former Fox sitcom Arrested Development.

The company hasn't been at this as long as HBO, so this could be a sign of things to come in the international market, though Home Box Office continues to score with series like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire while also "getting" the digital revolution.

HBO is likely to remain a heavy hitter for years to come, especially if it acts on rumors to drop the cable or satellite requirement for subscribing through its HBO GO streaming brand.

Both companies are making strong television right now that really seems to be connecting with viewers.

Personally, we enjoy the fact that Netflix allows you to watch an entire series like Hemlock Grove, which just released on April 19 -- check the video below -- at your own pace rather than waiting for Sunday nights and releasing a little at a time.

In other news on Monday, Netflix announced it would allow its deal with Viacom to lapse, which means no more Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV products on streaming, SNL Kagan reported.

The company will also launch an $11.99 streaming plan for larger families.

"A few members with large families run into our 2-simultaneous-stream limit... To best serve these members, we're shortly adding a 4-stream plan, at $11.99 in the U.S., and we expect fewer than 1 percent of members to take it," wrote Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells in a joint statement.

Which service do you enjoy more -- Netflix or HBO?

[Image via s_bukley /]