Analyst: Netflix Could Exceed 40 Million Streaming Subscribers By 2015

Netflix World Domination - H 2013

Netflix World Domination - H 2013

Richard Greenfield cites multiple reasons for his optimism, including that the service costs $7.99 a month, "about half of HBO's retail price."

A day after Netflix won a couple of Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, a Wall Street analyst on Monday predicted the subscription service could surpass the 40 million subscribers mark in 2015, up from roughly 31 million today.

"We see no reason why Netflix cannot exceed 40 million streaming subscribers by year-end 2015," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in one of two blog entries about Netflix on Monday.

Greenfield laid out several reasons for his optimism, including "a growing stable of high-quality original programming," which, of course, includes House of Cards, which took two Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday and is also nominated for best drama. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are also nominated in the acting categories.

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Greenfield says a low monthly price of $7.99, which he notes is "about half of HBO's retail price," is also driving adoption of Netflix's streaming product, as is "rapid escalation in personal entertainment media devices and the acceleration in the penetration of IP-enabled/connected televisions."

Ease of use -- nothing beyond broadband access is needed -- also is contributing to subscriber growth, as well as a "diverse offering including a compelling array of kids content positioned as a free add-on to the core service."

Later on Monday, Greenfield dissected subtle changes made to a document called "Netflix Long Term View" a few weeks ago by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (the document was originally written in April).

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Added to the document were a few lines indicating that Netflix will dedicate more of its resources to original programming, given that Hastings sees the first five originals as homerun successes.

Gone from the statement is a reference to spending just 10 percent of its programming budget on original content. Now the document says, "We'll steadily grow our original content spending." This, says Greenfield, "could be read negatively for those licensing content to Netflix."

Another addition Hastings added states that original programming "helps both retention and acquisition of members in a way that previously seen series do not."