A battle is currently being waged between the ever-popular cable TV network HBO and recent rival to their game, Netflix. Netflix and HBO have been dueling it out on the market floor since both began their ventures in the field of streaming media. While HBO has been standing as a top U.S. cable provider for years, Netflix has been hot on its heels with the latest in on-demand viewing. HBO has been well recognized for some of its high-quality original programming, such as Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Curb your Enthusiasm, to name a few. The recent Netflix production House of Cards, however, is stepping on HBO toes as it appears to be reaching its potential of becoming a forerunner in this year’s Emmy awards.
HBO, however, has recently signed a deal with Universal pictures that enables HBO viewers to have access to a vast treasure trove of new and classic Universal films, barring Netflix from airing any Universal content. On the other hand, though, Netflix has reached an agreement with Walt Disney pictures that will allow for broadcasting of any of their films after the year 2016. Netflix currently has the upper hand in pricing as it only costs about eight dollars a month to subscribe to the service, whereas HBO’s streaming service HBO GO has to be purchased alongside the main cable package, making the service uncomfortably costly.
With new investments being made by Netlix into the creation of original content, it seems that HBO may have a few reasons to fear the onslaught in the coming months as we see exactly how good Netflix’s content will be. If Netflix can produce quality programming to the same degree that HBO does, we may have a reckoning on our hands. According to Andrew Wallenstein of Variety, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, “You want to think of House of Cards as a down payment on the potential to build real franchises. We don’t want you to think that suddenly we are the original-content company.” It appears that the focus right now is not solely on original programming. but also the company’s licensed content library. At the end of the day, subscribers want the best content for the most affordable price, and it seems Netflix is investing largely in building its client base and expanding on content. Netflix and HBO viewers alike want good content regardless of where it comes from.
That being said, there is still a lot going on in terms of original content development with a new season of Arrested Development on its way, as well as a brand-spanking-new horror series called Hemlock Grove. We have yet to see how these latest investments will take off in terms of viewership.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos suggested that the company would need to produce at least five shows a year to get a foot ahead of the leading players in the game. With a budget of over $300 million for the production of original programming and a bold statement being made — “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us” — it seems Netflix is on the rise and aiming to get out on top.