Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings has been meeting with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The site’s source said that at least one cable provider may experiment and offer the streaming service before the end of the year. If a partnership were to come from these talks, cable operators could offer Netflix as an additional on-demand option that would be added onto a subscriber’s monthly cable bill. The cable industry originally viewed Netflix as a threat to its $100 billion-a-year business, fearing users would abandon more expensive packages in favor of cheap online streaming services. Having Netflix as an added option could be appealing to many cable companies in an effort to retain “cord cutting” customers. “It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term,” said Hastings during 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.”
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