Netflix notches a victory over traditional cable as it hits 40 million members

Putting HBO in its sights

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Netflix may be the new kid on the block compared to the cable-providing heavyweights, but it's wasted little time putting traditional TV on notice. Not only do its showings grab headlines (we're looking at you, Breaking Bad), the numbers are pointing to a streaming content coup.

Like today, when in announcing its Q3 2013 earnings results Netflix revealed its membership has grown to over 40 million people, up from less than 30 million one year ago.

Even more importantly, its US subscriber figure hit 29.93 million, overtaking HBO's most recent total of 28.7 million. It's not a huge difference, but should be enough for the Home Box Office to start (or continue) worrying.

Internationally, paid subscribers totaled 9.19 million, a jump of 1.94 million since last quarter. The company does anticipate reaching 10.5 international members by year's end. Though Netflix counted an international contribution loss of $74 million (about £45.8m, AU$76.6m), it plan to march into new territories next year will carry on as planned.

Netflix is the new black

As for content, Netflix said its prison comedy/drama, Orange is the New Black, "has been a tremendous success for us."

"It will end the year as one of our most watched original series ever and, as with each of our other previously launched originals, enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV," Netflix wrote in its quarterly letter to shareholders.

Though Netflix stayed quiet, as it always do, on viewership numbers it said it expects OITNB season two viewership to grow "substantially."

The company ran down its Emmy wins, including for the original series House of Cards, and teased future proprietary content, namely upcoming comedy specials. However, 2014 will be a big year for original material:

"In 2014, we expect to double our investment in original content," the company wrote opaquely. In addition to second seasons of its current lineup, the company will release a Sony-backed series and several animated series from DreamWorks Animation.

"Expect more news on additional new original projects in the months to come," it wrote.

While original content grabbed most people's attention, Netflix said a "bigger percentage of overall [viewing]" comes from complete season-after series. Cases in point included The New Girl, Scandal, Breaking Bad and Pretty Little Liars.

The company noted its $7.99 (£5.99, about AU$8.27) monthly rate is "working very well for us," so don't expect a price drop or raise anytime soon.