In its latest bid to stay ahead of the competition, Netflix is looking to team up with cable companies. The proposal? Add its online streaming services as another "on-demand" option that cable subscribers could access through their set-top boxes. CEO Reed Hastings has quietly met with senior executives at some of the country's biggest cable companies recently, sources tell Reuters, and at least one company could experiment with a partnership by the end of this year, says one source. (Other industry watchers, however, indicated the plan was a long way from realization.)
Hastings has been hinting that Netflix could soon make its way onto cable, as a rival to premium channels like HBO, but the move still comes as a surprise considering the cable industry has long seen Netflix as a rival. But don't expect to see Netflix team up with Comcast, which launched its own online video service last month, or Verizon, which is partnering with Redbox. If a deal is struck soon, one programming executive notes, cable subscribers would still have to wait months before actually being able to get Netflix via cable, since the company's licensing contracts would have to be renegotiated.