Netflix to eclipse HBO in subscribers

Just because they have two completely different business models doesn’t mean that comparisons between Netflix and HBO are irrelevant. They’re going for the same people – those willing to pay extra for more television entertainment.

Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is poised to pass HBO in paid U.S. subscribers, showing Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings is making progress toward a goal of transforming the streaming service to a Web-based television network.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, reports third-quarter results today after markets close. Already the world’s largest subscription-video service, the company probably reached 30 million paying U.S. customers as of Sept. 30, according to Needham & Co. HBO, Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s premium cable-TV network, has about 28.7 million, according to researcher SNL Kagan.

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