Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is exploring partnerships with large U.S. cable companies to add its subscription video-streaming service to their cable offerings, according to media reports on Wednesday.
The talks could lead to Netflix' online movie streaming becoming available as another on-demand option for cable subscribers through their set-top boxes. A potential deal with cable operators would be in sharp contrast to Netflix' previous spats with them. The company's $7.99 monthly service was seen as a threat by cable operators to their business.
The move would also heat up Netflix' competition with Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) HBO channel that has already intensified in recent months.
In January, HBO stopped providing DVDs of its shows to Netflix. More recently, in February, HBO acquired a 16 percent stake in Australian online DVD rental company Quickflix Ltd.
Netflix is also facing competition from companies such as Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), which are working on their own online video streaming plans.
In February, cable operator Comcast announced the launch of a new subscription video service called Xfinity Streampix, which will cost $4.99 per month. That will be below Netflix's current streaming service of $7.99 per month.
Also in February, Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) and Coinstar Inc. (CSTR) announced the formation of a joint venture that will offer Redbox new release DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals combined with a new content-rich video on-demand streaming and download service from Verizon.
The joint venture plans to introduce the product portfolio in the second half of 2012.
In Wednesday's regular session, NFLX is trading at $108.97, up $1.84 or 1.72 percent on a volume of 1.97 million shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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