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Netflix’s Internet video service has more than 20 million subscribers. Its DVD-by-mail business ended September with nearly 14 million customers. The DVD-by-mail subscribers could have dropped to as low as 10.3 million by the end of December, based on projections Netflix issued in October.

Investors also see Internet video as the key Netflix’s future, although they became less confident about the company’s decision-making after last year’s U.S. price increases drove away hordes of customers. The backlash caused Netflix’s stock to drop by more than 60 percent during calendar 2011. The shares have gotten off to a hot start this year, rising 25 percent during the first trading days on positive news about subscribers’ Internet video viewership and takeover speculation. The stock rose $6.99 Friday to finish the week at $86.29, its highest closing price in nearly two months.

In contrast, DVD rentals remain Redbox’s financial lifeblood, although it too is looking to expand into Internet video streaming. For now, Redbox probably can’t afford the potential customer alienation that would come with additional delays in the availability in new DVD releases. But having to pay more for DVDs will squeeze profit margins. Either way, it might not bode well for Coinstar’s stock. Coinstar shares shed $2.39, or 5.5 percent, to close Friday at $40.98.

For Warner Bros., longer delays in DVD rentals could provide another away to promote UltraViolet. That’s a new system, backed by Warner Bros. and several major Hollywood studios, that allows consumers to access movies they have purchased on discs over multiple devices including tablet computers and smartphones.

UltraViolet is seen as a way to prod more people to buy DVDs and possibly reverse a slump in disc sales.

To avoid cutting into its own sales, Time Warner is trying to push Netflix and other rental services to the back of a long line of services, while moving DVD and Blu-ray purchases to the front of the line alongside its HBO pay TV channel. To protect its franchise, HBO has steadfastly refused to license its material to Netflix’s Internet video service and this week confirmed it will no longer sell DVDs of its shows to Netflix. Unwilling to be completely walled off from HBO content, Netflix plans to buy the DVDs of the pay channel’s shows from other sources.

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AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this story.