Cabler Suddenlink to Offer Netflix Access6 May, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
It may have just 1.2 million subscribers, but Suddenlink has become the latest domestic cable operator to enable its TiVo set-top box users direct access to Netflix.
Once considered Kryptonite to multichannel video program distributors, the subscription streaming service is now being embraced by regional cablers as a means of differentiating themselves from competing telcom, satellite TV, in addition to Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
The Suddenlink deal — with the seventh largest cabler in the country, operating in North Carolina, Texas and Louisiana — mirrors recent pacts between Netflix and Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN — the first in the United States for the SVOD pioneer. Netflix last year inked access agreements with Virgin Media in the United Kingdom, and Con Hem in Sweden.
No Netflix availability date for Suddenlink subscribers has been announced.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in a fiscal calls, has suggested MVPDs in the U.S. could better retain video subs by offering easier access to Netflix — a strategy heretofore ignored by Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.
Indeed, Comcast chairman Brian Roberts has emphatically denied any interest in facilitating easier access to Netflix for his 22 million video subscribers. Instead, Comcast inked an interconnection agreement with the streaming service to ensure smoother (i.e. faster) streaming of its TV shows and movies — a deal Netflix has publicly condemned.
Netflix just signed a similar pact with Verizon.