Reuters: Netflix Figures It Can’t Beat ‘Em, Decides to Join ‘Em (cable providers, that is)

Sections: Streaming, Video

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I’m not sure whether to file this one under “A New Hope” or “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”

I know we’ve given Netflix its fair share of abuse for some really iffy business decisions in the past year (along with praise for some smooth moves lately), but if all goes according to Reed Hastings’ latest plan, things are about to get either a lot more contentious (or a lot more bright) for the company.

Reuters has the exclusive scoop on a proposed joint venture between Netflix and cable providers that may make the streaming video services an integral part of many cable TV subscription plans:

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has quietly met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies in recent weeks to discuss adding the online movie streaming service to their cable offerings, according to sources familiar with matter.

In what would ratchet up its competition with HBO, the talks could lead to Netflix becoming available as another on-demand option for cable subscribers through their set-top boxes, according to three people familiar with the talks. If a partnership came to fruition, a cable operator might offer Netflix as an additional option added onto a subscriber’s cable bill, according to a fourth person.

The story goes on to hint at the irony of such a proposed deal, given the antagonism between cable companies and Netflix that has brewed over the past few years, not only owing to the alternative availability of video content, but the huge bandwidth suck that Netflix has become. And if it all sounds like grand scheming, consider this: according to the story, “At least one cable operator could experiment with offering Netflix by the end of the year.”

Via: [Reuters — Exclusive: Netflix in talks for cable partnership]

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