Netflix's Reed Hastings on New Verizon Competition: 'We're Still More Worried About HBO'

Tue Dec 6, 2011 10:51am EST

As news leaked Tuesday that Verizon may be trying to muscle in on the video streaming market, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told attendees at New York's UBS conference that he is still much more concerned about another competitor: HBO.

"The competitor we fear the most is HBO Go," Hastings said. "They aren't competing directly with us now, but they can. HBO is becoming much more Netflix-like, and we're becoming much more HBO-like."

News that Verizon might be launching a Netflix challenge hit via a report on Reuters. 

The wire service wrote that Verizon may roll out the new video service via its FiOS television and broadband package in 2012. Reuters cited several people briefed on the plan as its sources.

A Verizon spokesman told TheWrap: "We do not comment on rumor or speculation."

Also read: Netflix Stock Plunge: Will Reed Hastings’ Hubris Bring Down an Internet Meteor

Verizon is apparently still trying to hammer out details as to what shape the service would take and is reaching out to content makers. 

Verizon's entry into the streaming space could spell more headaches for Netflix, which has seen its stock price nose-dive in the wake of price increases and an aborted plan to spin off its DVD-by-mail business. 

At the UBS conference Tuesday, CNET quoted Hastings as saying he expects to see more of a race to dominate the digital video space, with Verizon yet another competitor for those streaming dollars.

However, Hastings seems more worried about HBO than he is about any telecommunications competition. 

They may be becoming more HBO-like, but the red envelope company isn't in the black yet. Hastings said that even though he expects his embattled company's subscriber growth to rebound, Netflix will not return to profitability soon. 

After falling throughout the day, Netflix's stock rose .88 percent to $68.74 in after-hours trading. 

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