Netflix Inc. (NFLX: Quote) 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: Quote) 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: Quote) 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: Quote) 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.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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