Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has quietly met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies in recent weeks to discuss adding the online movie streaming service to their cable offerings.
Hastings has strongly hinted at investor conferences in recent weeks about the possibility of Netflix one day being a cable channel rival to premium networks like Time Warner Inc's HBO.
"It's not in the short term, but it's in the natural direction for us in the long term," said Hastings, speaking at an investor conference last week. "Many (cable service providers) would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO."
This news follows Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, who last month launched its own online video service for subscribers called Streampix that is supposed to be its answer to Netflix. Comcast executives say they will do everything they can to keep subscribers watching video through its own systems.