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Netflix CEO reacts to HBO’s streaming service

MUMBAI: With HBO planning to launch its streaming service early next year, it will compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and more with a strong library of content. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has not taken too kindly too it, saying the ‘imitation’ won’t stop there.

Multiple reports quote Hastings as saying that the cable network will inevitably start releasing all episodes of a series at once, just as Netflix does, and the two are set to go head-to-head when the streaming-only HBO service arrives.

However, terming it as healthy competition, Hastings said a direct face-off in the online space between his streaming video service and the premium cable network would push both companies to get creative, including in the rival’s programming release patterns.

“Think about us doing the binge-viewing window, where you get all the episodes at once. For a couple of years they’ll protest, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make sense,’ of course. And then they’ll do it. That moment will be the marker for when Internet TV is more important than the linear stream of programming that binds traditional TV channels,” he said.

He termed the entrance of HBO into online only streaming in US as exciting rather than threatening.

He said, “On the consumer side it’s one more channel. Consumers subscribe to many of these. We and HBO have completely different content.”

The two companies have already gone head-to-head in Nordic countries, where Netflix expanded in 2012 and HBO first offered a subscription service untethered to a pay TV package in the same year. But HBO’s service is priced higher than Netflix in the Nordic countries.

Speaking about the performance of both services in those countries, Hastings added, “They’ve done pretty well, and we’ve done very well.”

HBO recently announced that it would launch a standalone, over-the-top offering next year that will let people watch programming purely online without subscribing to any pay TV provider like a cable or satellite company. Its popular HBO Go app already provides the full breadth of the network’s past and current original series as well as movies, but it’s accessible only to those who pay for TV the traditional way.