Things between HBO and Netflix just got a little bit ... awkward.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took a shot at HBO CEO Richard Plepler in an earnings call on Wednesday after a JP Morgan analyst asked Hastings what he thought about Netflix subscribers sharing passwords. The analyst noted that the HBO CEO said last week that he doesn't mind when people share their HBO Go passwords.
Hastings had a surprising response:
"So I guess Plepler ... doesn't mind me then sharing his [Netflix] account information. So it's email@example.com and his password is 'netflix bitch.' "
It's unclear whether or not Hastings said "Netflix's bitch or Netflix bitch," and it doesn't matter. The response from the analysts moderating the call -- laughing at first and then silence -- is priceless.
Netflix has made no secret it wants to take on HBO. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, told GQ in an article published last year that "The goal ... is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."
While Netflix now has more paying U.S. subscribers than HBO has, it has a long way to go when it comes to original content: HBO received a whopping 27 Emmy awards last year, while Netflix took home three.