Movies Television

The Future of Netflix

I recently got NetFlix again due to my cancelation of Cable TV. And for a mini-update of that, I am quite happy with the change given that the new TV season is on keeping me busy there anyway and I save about $30 a month from what I was paying. Now I’m not going to do a review on Netflix, that’d be silly. Everyone knows what the service is and how good it is. What I want to concentrate on instead is some of the newer things that Netflix has added and what this service COULD be going forward

NetFlixRecently, Netflix has made great strides to improve their Streaming content service. They have somehow landed a deal where they get to play Heroes commercial free just hours after it airs on television. This I think is a clear step in the right direction. It isn’t a huge deal for NBC because they already release it quickly on their website with limited commercials. They likely get a small fee for taking those limited commercials out and tada! Added value to Netflix. The other thing they’ve recently done is gone out and signed a deal with Starz which gains netflix access to over 1000 new blockbuster titles, with more to come soon.

Now it is the combination of these two things that really gets my brain a-churnin’. What if Netflix could somehow get a deal going with say HBO or Showtime? Let’s use Showtime as an example as I think it has been gaining ground and I could see them do something like this to add thousands of new viewers. My thoughts on said deal would have two distinct parts.

The first part is that of movies. Long before these type of channels had quality programming, they were known for having recent releases, often before they hit the video store. I don’t know if they still do get them out before video release, as video releases happen really quickly after the movie was in the theaters, but if this could be added to Netflix, that would be amazing. But the meat of the deal would be to add movies from 2 or 3 days after it first airs on a showtime network, until the end of their contract with said movie on Netflix streams. This would be included with every Netflix account.

The secondary part of this deal would be that for an addition $2-3 a month, a netflix member could gain access to Showtime’s Television series, original mini-series and movies, and live broadcast events from all their networks. In this way, Showtime would be able to keep their fee structure, but add more viewers, while adding value to netflix. A member could gain access to live boxing, or sit down and watch Dexter whenver they want.

The two main problems I foresee with this is that are customers willing to pay extra for such content, or do they think that type of content should be provided to them for free? I can see this happening but honestly this happens with cable anyway. And at the end of the day, bypassing cable & direcTV you actually are saving quite a bit because the value you have is already intrinsic in the netflix account, unlike getting a bunch of crappy cable channels just to get HBO.

The other issue I foresee being a larger one is that why would Showtime put their content on Netflix when they could just sell it on their own website and get a larger share of the profits. This is an inherent problem with any sort of centralized internet television service.

There are a lot of answers to this. One, I think people generally feel more comfortable getting all their viewership needs in one spot. Sure we can hop around everywhere to get what we want, but it’d be far more convenient if we could get what we wanted that pertains to a certain feature like video, in a single spot. After all isn’t this how Wal-mart and Target operate? (not that I want netflix to be like them but the point is the same).

The second is customer base. Because netflix already has a large customer base and the technology to do it, it would be low cost for the network to get into it and get a positive return on it. With their own service, it would take time to develop the technology and then more time to get potential customers to know it is there. The other issue is that if they offer this then current customers of Showtime on more traditional methods, may want access to that service at no cost, whereas putting it on netflix guarantees nothing for current customers.

I still wish that we could stream on non-internet explorer browsers, but honestly for the common person, this isn’t a bad browser to choose support for. I deal with computer illeterate people all the time and they have no idea what a browser is, they just see that E as the internet that the computer came with and not any particular program at all. So having Netflix on IE gets the most common denominator, no matter how sad a denominator that is.