Where broadcast couldn't swear or show nudity, HBO came along with quality programming that crossed that line while it delivered growing audiences. By going against conventional wisdom, HBO proved that what they offered went beyond anything offered on television. But since then, HBO has faced increasing competition, both from other premium providers like Showtime and Starz, and cable networks like AMC.
But consumers are now moving beyond cable to streaming media and Netflix is proving itself as the go to source for streaming video content. And according to Liz Shannon Miller of Paid Content, "Orange Is the New Black confirms: Netflix is the new HBO". Truth is Netflix has been pushing the envelope, both with original content and renewals of a show like "Arrested Development." Their push to delivering more content, both syndicated and original, has enabled them to grow their subscriber base and compete directly against premium content and basic cable.
For consumers seeking content that follows them, a TV Everywhere approach, Netflix enables consumers to directly buy a subscription. HBO, on the other hand, offers its HBO GO feature, but only to authenticated cable subscribers. Good for cable operators but bad for consumers that don't want that buy through.
Is Netflix the next HBO as Miller suggests. For me, it may be too soon to tell. Amazon, Hulu and others are in this space too. But I like the direction that Netflix has taken in driving original content to their platform. It worked for HBO, it worked for AMC, and it will continue to drive traffic to Netflix as long as the quality remains high.