Jul 302010

Great article by Gary Kim, technology and media writer par excellance, offering a superb breakdown of Netflix’s numbers, rising subscriber base, lower DVD shipping levels, and higher streaming media viewership, all of which suggests that Netflix is on its way to being one of the nation’s great distribution powers on a par with the cable behemoths.

Here are a few of the numbers I found most fascinating in his article. My comments are in italics.

Netflix shipping costs are going down as more people tune in via digital distribution channels: Netflix spent $24 million in its most-recent quarter shipping DVDs by mail, compared with $43 million during the same period last year, and despite adding millions of new customers.

Netflix is seeing a HUGE increase in streaming viewers: Subscribers who watched at least 15 minutes of streaming content in the second quarter grew 61 percent, up from 37 percent in the year ago period.

Netflix subscribership is growing rapidly: From June 2009 to the same month this year, Netflix added nearly five million subscribers, a 42 percent increase. By the end of this year, the company says it could possess as many as 18.5 million subscribers.

Netflix is starting to rival Comcast in subscriber numbers: Sometime in 2011, Netflix will likely top the 20 million subscriber mark, making it a peer to Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company with 24.6 million cable TV subscribers.

All in all, it seems that Netflix is poised to take a leadership position in in-home digital distribution nationwide, and, per the Netflix Blog, they keep adding more ways of getting product into subscriber hands.