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HBO blasts NPD study, says TV subscriptions are on the rise

"The research is simply incorrect," said a representative for both HBO and Cinemax.

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Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng

Kelly Macdonald and Steve Buscemi are seen in the first episode of the third season of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." HBO

No, streaming video services aren't eating traditional TV's lunch.

That's according to a representative for HBO and Cinemax, who blasted a recent NPD study that claimed TV subscriptions were on the decline over the past two years as streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus were on the rise.

"The research is simply incorrect," said Jeff Cusson, a representative for HBO. Both pay-TV networks are owned by Time Warner.

The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the network's comments, which included similar statements from Showtime (a unit of CBS, which also owns CNET), and Starz.

HBO told CNET that both pay-TV networks have shown significant domestic subscriber growth over the past two years. Time Warner reported adding 1.9 million domestic subscribers to HBO and Cinemax in 2012, and expects similar numbers for 2013.

Likewise, Starz later responded to CNET and pointed out the strong subscriber growth of Starz and Encore.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the NPD report no longer appears on NPD's Web site.

NPD has since issued a "data clarification," noting that while its study found the overall number of subscribers had declined, individual subscribers were signing up for more channels, or adding more channels over time.

"In that case, faithful premium channel subscribers are becoming more so - which would be consistent with the subscription increases being reported by individual channels," NPD said in a statement.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. PT: To include a statement from NPD.