Netflix is the New Showtime?

Netflix just reported 12.6 million subscribers, just 3 million less than Showtime.  It has taken Showtime 34 years to reach 15 million and Netflix 13 years to reach 12.6 million.  Netflix expects to reach 16 million subscribers by YE2010.

So lets get this straight, a service that mails copies of movies to each subscriber will be larger then a service that appears on your TV with a click of a remote.

Even more telling…Netflix has done this with NO distribution partner, just marketing deals. So for $8.99 per month I can have movies delivered or streamed to my home and for $20 per month someone else picks the films.

No cable operator to call.

Why haven’t HBO and Showtime created online services?  If they are concerned with their deals with the cable companies, why not just create a totally new service with a new name?