HBO Discussed Buying Netflix in 2006

An anonymous reader shares a report: "The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." That's Netflix executive Ted Sarandos in 2013, shortly before his company made its jump into original content with House of Cards. And not just original content -- glossy big-budget content made by a famous director, featuring (at the time) a famous actor. HBO-style content. Even if you don't follow the media business closely, you probably know what happened after that: With House of Cards, Netflix proved, quite quickly, that it could make shows as good as the stuff the fabled pay TV network makes. And then Netflix started making a lot more stuff, and consumers liked that, too. And now Netflix is the company that every other media company wants to emulate -- and it's the chief reason every big media company is trying to decide whether it needs to buy or sell to every other big media company. But it didn't have to go that way. In 2005, two years before Netflix got into the streaming business, some HBO executives were pushing the company to do the same thing. They wanted HBO to use the internet to sell subscriptions directly to consumers instead of wholesaling their product to the big cable TV distributors. A year later, after passing on that idea, HBO considered another move that would have rewritten media history: Some of its executives wanted HBO to buy Netflix, which at the time was a DVD rent-by-mail business worth around $1 billion. Netflix is now worth some $300 billion.

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