Netflix has announced that it added 3.1 million net subscribers in the last quarter of 2010, bringing it up to just over 20 million total. If it were a cable company, it would now be in second place behind only Comcast, which has just under 24 million subscribers. Some additional statistics make this comparison even more interesting.
Netflix indicates that about a third of the new subscribers opted for the streaming-only plan. And Comcast reported losing more than a quarter of a million net subscribers in the third quarter of 2010. And Netflix made $47 million profit in the last quarter of 2011, which was up more than 50% over last year. The company is making a healthy profit, which should help give it plenty of bargaining chips as it tries to negotiate new deals for better content for its streaming service.
I believe that we are witnessing a significant change in the way that movies and television programming are delivered to consumers, and Netflix appears to be amassing the cash and the clout to make it stick. I expect to hear a lot more cable and satellite executives proclaiming that they’re not worried about Netflix as competition; what else can they do but whistle past the graveyard?