CEO Reed Hastings has long-tried to maintain that Netflix is not, in fact, a nefarious plot to destroy the cable companies, but rather a “complementary” service that will leave cords to cable companies neatly intact. Whether or not Mr. Hastings is being sincere about Netflix’s end goal, it looks like that’s how it’s playing out for now. Using last night’s True Blood premiere as bait, HBO saw its 3 millionth download of the HBO Go mobile app (for the iPad, iPhone, and Android) this weekend. The app, a direct competitor to Netflix, can be accessed for free by paying HBO cable customers. Considering that there are 28 million HBO subscribers around the country, that means about 10 percent have tried out the app just since it premiered on May 2nd.
Time Warner and Cablevision customers in New York City still have to wait for the city’s largest cable service providers to close the deal. (And deal with their Soviet-style customer service.) But the New York Post reports that talks are underway.
Unlike Netflix, which has had to decrease its offerings as studios and TV networks jack up the price and wait times, or Hulu Plus which “skimps on the number of back episodes” from popular shows, HBO’s mobile app is going whole hog–screening next week’s episode of True Blood directly after last night’s premiere and offering more than 1,4000 episodes from shows like The Wire, Game of Thrones, and Sex and the City. Three million is nowhere near Netflix’s 23 million subscribers. But we have a feeling that HBO’s decision not to let Netflix stream even one episode of those shows instantly could end up evening the odds.