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Netflix expects HBO to go binge-first in an 'internet TV world'

It added 7 million customers in Q4, and will increase its original content investment by a billion dollars this year.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
01.18.17 in AV
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Netflix just announced its final earnings report for 2016 (PDF), revealing that it grew by seven million customers to 93.8 million. That's two million more than it had projected, up more than 25 percent for the year and puts the 100 million benchmark squarely in its sights for 2017. Beyond revealing that House of Cards will launch in Q2 instead of Q1 this year, Netflix mentioned the strong performance of original series like The OA and 3%. Regarding the latter, Netflix says it was watched by "millions" of US viewers and is the first Portuguese-language show to travel that way.

Ten years after launching Watch Instantly streaming and one year after making it available nearly worldwide, Netflix is now an internet-first video company and according to its letter, expects others to follow. Noting the BBC's new BritBox plans for online video, the company says it presumes HBO won't be far behind when it comes to favoring internet viewers over linear ones, by launching series all at once instead of week-by-week.

Netflix says that its original shows were five of the top ten shows searched for globally, according to Google, with Stranger Things at #1. The company is "pleased" with the rollout of offline viewing so far and says its customers are also "pleased" with the recent integration on Comcast's X1 boxes.

Also garnering a mention is the incoming administration and its potential impact on net neutrality, which Netflix now says isn't that big of a deal for its business. That's because "we are now popular enough with consumers to keep our relationships with ISPs stable." Despite that, it continued to push for strong net neutrality, saying " We hope the new US administration and Congress will recognize that keeping the network neutral drives job growth and innovation."

On the live video call (embedded below), Reed Hastings declined to expand upon his net neutrality statement towards the Trump administration and said the company plans to "rinse repeat" on some of the things it's been doing to grow so far.

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