By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 12 Feb 2009
Online subscription rental, spearheaded by industry pioneer Netflix Inc., continues to be a recession buster.
The Los Gatos, Calif.-based service Feb. 12 said it added 600,000 net subscribers since the first of the year, bringing its total membership past 10 million subs. It ended 2008 with 9.4 million subscribers.
Characterizing the 10 million mark as a “symbolic but meaningful achievement,” CEO Reed Hastings attributed the surge of new subscribers to the company’s value-add Instant Watch streaming service that delivers 12,000 titles free to broadband-enabled TiVo set-top boxes, Microsoft Xbox 360, select LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, PCs and Intel-based Macs, and the Roku digital video player.
“[We are] singularly focused on making movie enjoyment easy,” Hastings said.
Netflix, which has increased its subscriber base 30% annually since launching in 1999, expects to end the year with a base of 10.6 million to 11.3 million subscribers.
“It’s an impressive metric considering the economic environment,” said Edward Woo, research analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, which covers Netflix. “I don't think Netflix will be slowed in the near term as they have lots of momentum, economic favorable products, and first mover/competitive advantage in digital streaming.”