LOS GATOS, Calif. (AP) -- After adding 1.3 million subscribers in the third quarter, Netflix's Internet video service now boasts more than 31 million U.S. customers. That places Netflix's still-young U.S. video-streaming service firmly ahead of HBO's 41-year-old pay-TV channel, which is believed to have about 29 million subscribers in the country.
But HBO's 114 million subscribers worldwide still dwarfs Netflix, which has about 40 million customers globally. Netflix Inc.'s service is now in 41 countries with ambitious plans to expand into other international markets, but CEO Reed Hastings told analysts during a video conference call Monday that it will take a long time to surpass Time Warner Inc.'s HBO service on a global scale.
QUESTION: It sounds like you have some big plans for international market launches in the next to 12 to 24 months. Is it years away, meaning five-plus years away, to be bigger than HBO globally? Or could you actually get (there) even faster than that, given the pace of broadband adoption on a global basis?
ANSWER: I think it will probably take longer than that because they're continuing to grow. You know the thing about us is as we grow, HBO is really focusing on doing incredible work. They'll probably do some of the best shows they ever do in the next five years. They're expanding more aggressively in international.
So I think what we'll see is, you know, they grow some. We hopefully grow a lot. And I don't know when we'll catch them. It's going to be a long time. I mean, 114 million, they've been at it since 1972. So that's 40 years. And we've been at it, on the streaming sense, only seven years. So I'm really happy with our progress to date, but we do have a long way to go to catch up to it.
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