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Consumer Confidential: Netflix soars, AT&T goes Android, card issuers pile on

January 27, 2011 |  9:57 am

Netflixpic Here's your throwaway Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- TV viewers are lovin' their Netflix. The online video-rental service says it has surpassed 20 million subscribers and forecasts faster growth than analysts had projected, according to Bloomberg. Netflix is expanding outside the U.S. and adding online content to reduce the cost of mailing DVDs. As more people subscribe, it’s becoming easier to obtain rights from Hollywood studios to air films and television shows over the Internet, says company CEO Reed Hastings. Netflix will "steadily" announce new or expanded multiyear content agreements every few months this year, he says.

-- Now that AT&T is about to lose its iPhone exclusivity, the company says it'll be heavy into smart phones featuring Google's Android operating system. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says the company will start "very aggressively" marketing Android phones now that Verizon will also be offering iPhones. Verizon has been the biggest supporter of Android to date, but its introduction of the iPhone on Feb. 10 could change the company's focus. In effect, reports the Associated Press, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are set to swap strategies in the high-stakes smart-phone market.

-- If it seems as if your mailbox is overflowing with credit card offers, well, guess what?: It is. Market researcher Synovate says credit card companies have come out of hibernation and are pushing hard once again to woo customers. The company puts the total number of credit card solicitations worldwide at 2.73 billion -- nearly double the amount that flooded consumers in 2009. During the second quarter of 2010, U.S. households received 640.3 million card offers -- an 83% increase. Chase was the leading issuer, quadrupling its mailings versus the same period in the prior year.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: More and more people are turning to Netflix for their viewing pleasure. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press