Today, in a letter to investors (PDF link), Netflix announced that its subscriber rolls have topped 50 million people worldwide. (For a couple points of comparison, Time Warner claims 127 million HBO/Cinemax subscribers, and ever-secretive Amazon has only admitted that it has something more than 20 million Prime subscribers.) Those 50 million subscribers translated into a $71 million profit for Netflix, more than double its $30 million take from the year-ago quarter. The subscriber growth also comes in spite of a price hike in May that raised the price of Netflix streaming from $8 a month to $9 a month for new subscribers. “There was minimal impact on membership growth from this price change,” the company boasts.
When it was done announcing its world-beating success, Netflix turned its attention to the cable companies and Internet service providers for which it holds unending scorn. As ever, the company says its focus is “on strong net neutrality” in the interest of “preventing large ISPs from holding our joint customers hostage with poor performance to extract payments from us, other Internet content firms, and Internet transit suppliers.” To that end, the letter also said that Netflix opposes the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger on the same grounds that most non-plutocrats oppose it: The deal will combine two enormous, largely unchecked monsters of telecommunications into one even more monstrous beast. Then again, Netflix is starting to look pretty monstrous itself.
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