Netflix just can't stay out of the spotlight-such is the plight of a company whose stock is up 106 percent in the past 12 months and whose technology could pose a major threat to satellite and cable TV operators, not to mention TV networks.
Now it's in the midst of a battle between a content company and a cable channel, which raises lots of questions about digital distribution and Netflix's future.
Today Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said "The jury is out" whether Netflix will drive "cord cutting," saying that initial fears might have been overblown. Speaking at a Fortune Magazine breakfast, Roberts revealed that Netflix is really a "frenemy" of Comcast's: while we're waiting to see if it drives people to drop their cable subscription, the streaming video is great for Comcast's broadband business, which is booming. Plus, now that Comcast owns NBC Universal, CNBC's parent, Netflix pays the content company licensing fees for its library.
Netflix responded to Roberts comments, supporting his idea that he shouldn't view Netflix as a threat. A spokesperson tells me Netflix has always considered itself a "complement to cable." It's "rich catalog" of movies is a complement to the live events like the Superbowl and big reality TV shows like American Idol that Comcast can deliver.