20 Million for Netflix

5:30 PM -- Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), as expected, said it surpassed 20 million subs at the end of 2010, but not by a whole bunch. It ended the fourth quarter with 20.01 million subs after adding 3.08 million in the period, and 7.7 million net subs for all of 2010.

On the financial front, it notched revenues of $596 million and net income of $47 million, or 87 cents per diluted share.

In November, Netflix introduced its $7.99-per-month pure streaming plan while increasing prices on its other streaming-plus-DVD-rental plans. More than one-third of new subs are taking the new streaming-only plan, with the balance largely taking its $9.99 1-DVD combo plan. (See Netflix Debuts Streaming-Only Option .)

"Very few of our existing subscribers are downgrading to the pure streaming plan," the company said in a letter to shareholders in front of the earnings call coming later today. [Ed. note: We'll have more details soon.]

And it's certainly starting to view cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) as legitimate threats to its long-term business.

"There is the substitution threat of better offerings from MVPDs, with free TV Everywhere, in particular, making supplemental services like Netflix and Hulu Plus less desired," Netflix conceded.

And it looks like Netflix is going to start to keep a tally on which ISPs offer the "best, most-consistent" Internet service for Netflix streaming, based on data collected from subs. Netflix will publish the full scorecard on its blog tomorrow, but noted today that Charter Communications Inc. is the best-performing ISP in the U.S.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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