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Netflix Proves Cash Is King When It Comes to Content

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's amazing what a couple of bucks will do, eh, Netflix (NFLX - Get Report)?

Netflix just released its Internet speeds for various broadband and DSL providers, and lo and behold, speeds at Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) jumped significantly.  For the month of March, Netflix's speed on Comcast broadband lines jumped six spots to fifth on the list, with an average of 2.5 megabytes per second (Mbps). That's up markedly from February, when the average speed on Comcast was 1.68 Mbps, and 1.51 Mbps in January.

In February, Netflix and Comcast announced a deal that ensured Netflix's domestic streaming subscribers that use Comcast will have access to a smooth viewing experience. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Wall Street analysts have said the deal was negligible to Netflix, though the exact amount is anyone's guess.

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Netflix is expected to report first-quarter results April 21, after the close of trading, where analysts will be looking to see whether the payment to Comcast adversely affected Netflix's cash balance. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for the Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix to earn 83 cents per share on $1.265 billion in revenue.

It's not unusual for Netflix speeds on Comcast to jump from January to March, having done so in 2013. What is unusual is the size of the jump. In 2013, Netflix' average speed on Comcast was 2.01 Mbps, 2.06 Mbps in February, and 2.09 Mbps in March.

Other service providers, including Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), have reportedly asked or are in negotiations with Netflix to provide more money for direct access to their broadband pipes, to ensure direct access as opposed to using intermediaries to access the respective companies services. In an interview on CNBC in February, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams said Netflix and Verizon had been talking for roughly a year about a similar issue, and would expect to sign something.

Shares of Netflix were higher, gaining 1% in Monday trading to $329.99, while shares of Comcast were gaining 1.4% to $48.42.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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