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Hastings: Netflix Q4 Sub Surge ‘Wasn’t Just a Comcast Story’

Netflix may have enjoyed its best quarter ever from a subscriber standpoint in Q4 2016, but the recent integration of the OTT service on Comcast’s X1 platform only gets a piece of the credit because Netflix saw growth coming in from all corners of the globe.

RELATED: Netflix Ended 2016 With 93.8M Subs Worldwide

“It wasn’t just a Comcast story, in which case it would’ve been domestic only,” Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, said Wednesday on the company’s earnings call. “It’s fundamentally a story about the broad acceptance of Internet TV and the content.”

Comcast launched its integration of Netflix on X1 last November, and the operator is expected to add several more OTT offerings from outside parties to it later this year.  Drama Fever,  a U.S.-based OTT SVOD service, said recently that it’s in talks to integrate its offering on MVPD platforms, with X1 among the most logical candidates.

Hastings, who has previously held that he expects the X1 integration to be of modest help to Netflix, also stressed that the company is a big believer of MVPD partnerships and expects to be doing more of them.

Netflix CEO: Comcast X1 Integration ‘Will Help Modestly’

But he said not all MSOs are positioned technologically to integrate Netflix yet. “X1 is very strong in that way; so is the Dish [Network] receiver,” he said.  “We’re able to operate on ones that are relatively modern and have other IP apps also.” Several cable operators also offer Netflix on TiVo-powered boxes. 

Hastings also talked up how Netflix and its app has been rooted into X1 in a way that still allows the OTT service to shine and control the “post-play experience” that guides viewers to more Netflix shows.

“We look at it as an entry ramp onto our application,” he said. “We feel that our application is the best way to enjoy Netflix content.”

Overall, Netflix contributed its big 2016 growth surge to content and originals that tend to travel well around the world, including Luke Cage, Narcos and The Crown, among others.  Gilmore Girls, for example, has been performing well internationally, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, noted.

It’s a “cumulative effect” of content, as very few subs join Netflix because of one title, Hastings said.