Apple TV could help Netflix growth
Shares in Netflix Inc neared their all-time high on Thursday, after Apple Inc said that the company's streaming video service would be added to a new version of Apple TV.
The tie-in with Apple TV, a smaller, cheaper version of Apple's earlier web-to-TV product, could cement Netflix's dominance in the online movie rental business.
Netflix's 15 million subscribers already stream many movies online over dozens of devices, including Web-connected televisions and Blu-ray players, as well as game consoles.
Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson estimates that Apple will sell 1.5 million units of Apple TV in 2011, on top of the 65 million or so Netflix-enabled devices already in consumers' hands.
"By far, they are the leading streaming company so everybody's gunning for them," said Edward Woo, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. "Everyone sees what Netflix has with their subscription model, and it's only a matter of time until everyone starts to copy them."
Netflix shares rose 3 percent to $137.93 on Nasdaq on Thursday, near its all-time high of $140.90 hit last month.