Netflix-Time Warner deal on hold

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix Inc.’s effort to secure a place for its video-subscription service on Time Warner Cable set-top boxes is on hold now that the cable operator is being sold, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The discussions are unlikely to progress before Time Warner Cable’s $45.2 billion acquisition by Comcast is completed, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. Comcast, which isn’t as far along in its own talks with Netflix, is focused on increasing downloads and rentals with its new X1 set-top box.

‘‘They will not be in any kind of rush to let Netflix on their cable box and cannibalize their business,’’ said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. in Dallas.


A deal with Time Warner Cable pressure other pay-TV providers to offer Netflix as well. The video-streaming pioneer, with 44.4 million online subscribers, has pitched its Web-based trove of original shows, movies, and older series as a must-have for pay-TV providers who increasingly poach each other’s viewers for growth. It has signed two European cable services and is trying to reach deals with smaller US outfits that use TiVo Inc.’s set-top boxes.

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Discussions have included the possibility of Netflix paying fees to pay-TV providers, chief executive Reed Hastings said.

‘‘Consumers already use Netflix on the smart TVs, their Apple TVs, and their Rokus,’’ Hastings said. ‘‘For us, it’s not a financial decision, it’s a customer-pleasing decision,’’ he said.

Bloomberg News