Somewhere in Los Gatos, CA, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings must be doing a happy dance. According to Netflix’s first quarter results, the company not only beat Wall Street estimates, but in terms of subscribership, it has breached the 29 million mark in the U.S.
Do you know what that means? For the first time in its history, Netflix actually stands a chance of besting arch rival and cable giant HBO. The two companies seem to be running neck in neck in the U.S. market. HBO closed out 2012 with 28.7 million domestic subscribers, with Netflix following close behind at 27.15 million by year’s end. Then the streaming company hit the gas and picked up an additional 2+ million subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, bringing the number up to 29.17 million.
In order for HBO to tie with Netflix, it had to have signed 470,000 new accounts in the last quarter. It’s not clear if it did, as the cable channel hasn’t announced its first quarter results yet. But we do know that Hastings is crossing every finger he has right about now.
These numbers, of course, are domestic figures only. HBO still dominates internationally, boasting 114 million subscribers around the world. Netflix only has about 36 million subscribers globally, and of the 3 million that were acquired last quarter, 2 million were from the U.S. market.