By Sahil Patel
Netflix wants to be HBO (yes, this is one of those stories). Part of that strategy involves getting TV distributors to bundle the streaming service as part of their overall TV offering, just like any other premium pay-TV channel currently does.
While that’s going to be a bit tougher in the US, Netflix is making some headway in this department across the Atlantic — specifically in the UK, where it’s reportedly surpassed 3 million subscribers.
For instance, UK telecom giant BT just confirmed that it will include Netflix in its bundle. This means that the company’s customers will be able to sign up and pay for Netflix alongside other products and services — spanning TV, broadband, and phones — on the same monthly bill.
BT confirmed the news, which has been rumored for quite some time, during its latest quarterly earnings report. “We continue to focus on strengthening our TV proposition and are excited to announce we have entered into a partnership with Netflix that will allow our customers to sign up for Netflix alongside our other products and services, with the added convenience of paying on one bill directly through BT,” the company said.
With the integration, Netflix will also be available via set-tops provided by the telecom giant. The service will be included on the YouView Internet TV service, which is owned by a group of British telecom operators and broadcasters including BT and ITV Group.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s the latest in a series of distribution partnerships between Netflix and British TV distributors. The company already has agreements in place with Virgin Media and Vodafone in the country, and is said to be in talks with BT rival TalkTalk.
Netflix’s Q3 earnings were not well-received by Wall Street. As the company tries to expand in the US and abroad, it will need to find new distribution means to continue building its subscriber base. One way to do that is certainly by making it easy for people to sign up for the service via their TV providers. And along the way, those Netflix/HBO comparisons will get even tighter.