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David Poland

By David Poland

Another Netflix Quarter

I have been repeating myself over and over, so I will keep it brief.

Content issues are still the #1 long term problem for Netflix.

People are not fleeing like people from a building on fire from the company, but every quarter, Netflix’s content packages become a little thinner… a little more narrow. The company is fortunate that Amazon isn’t terribly aggressive about selling it’s streaming service… and that the studios continue to drag their feet as well. But the quality of Netflix’s offering is not pushing it further into the leadership of the streaming business… it is slowly, but surely eroding.

The last major studio whose recent releases are being streamed by Netflix, Paramount (by way of EPIX), is about to go non-exclusive, as EPIX finds other stream of revenue. It take s a long time for people give up something they are used to having. But at some point, people will start comparing other offerings to Netflix, and increasingly, some will make other choices.

I can certainly see a future where TV is catalogued by multiple streamers, say, product from the last 3 months on Hulu or Amazon, and material over 2 seasons old on Netflix. I am not saying that I know exactly how these chips will fall… only that they are already falling and while Netflix is likely to be a surviving brand, what precise kind of brand is completely up in the air.

11 Responses to “Another Netflix Quarter”

  1. etguild2 says:

    I sure as heck second you on this. “Drive” was the featured new release on streaming for upwards of three months.

    “Thor” and “Captain America” were their featured june releases, so Im not sure the Paramount deal was even that great.

  2. matthew says:

    If you like French movies, documentaries, or Korean romantic television shows, I guess it’s still worth it. And I think their TV offerings are still relatively decent; it’s worth paying for a couple of months if you’ve never seen Mad Men or Walking Dead or Breaking Bad, etc.

    But if you want Hollywood content…yeah. No.

  3. etguild2 says:

    Yeah I renew every few months to catch up on foreign or more obscure indie and doc fare…in June saw the excellent “Tomboy,” “Weekend,” “The Double Hour” “We Were Here,” “Nostalgia for the Light” and “Elite Squad 2,”….and the decent “Outrage,” “Tyrannosaur,” and “Mill and the Cross.”

    And promptly canceled for another 3 months.

  4. Captain_Celluloid says:

    As with many things New And Digital NETFLIX has rushed into
    streaming pretty much without a plan . . . . and are busily
    cannibalizing something that has worked and worked well for
    some something that doesn’t work well.

    Streaming content is poor and the image quality is worse . . . .
    one wonders why people tolerate it but then people also tolerate
    bad cell phone service.

    The consumer is the real victim here . . . . as NETFLIX rushes into
    The Next Big Thing AKA Streaming they are deliberately and systematically killing the Blu Ray and DVD service which was wonderful . . . . with great content and great quality.

    NETFLIX has become sort of like IMAX; they made their reputation on great looking 70mm FILM projection . . . . and then pissed it away on digital . . . . so they could show a different 3D movie every two weeks.

    NETFLIX streaming is short changing the consumer on content and quality and they should be angry about it . . . . but consumers still put up with bad cell phone reception to have a smart phone . . . .

    And so it goes.


  5. KrazyEyes says:

    The markets don’t much like the Netflix news either. Down over 20% in Wednesday morning trading.

    I personally like Netflix (and still maintain a DVD and streaming account) but it definitely seems like diminishing returns on a near monthly basis. You browse through the streaming collection and it seems like a good percentage of the movies are expiring in the next couple of weeks — yet there is ZERO information about new stuff coming to streaming. They’re doing a horrible job on a perception level — highlighting the negative while doing nothing to highlight the positive.

    They’re going to need to reverse direction now BEFORE the mass exodus of customers starts. Frankly, I’m amazed that Reed Hastings hasn’t been taken to the woodshed yet. Smart guy who clearly seems to be in over his head at the moment.

  6. johnbritt says:

    I used to love my Netflix, but I hate the streaming and the content in the DVD section is not as great as before. I am about to cancel mine and try Redbox for movies I don’t check out in the theater, and look to other streaming possibilities. On demand for cable is a much better option for streaming.

  7. David Poland says:

    Though I have been on this Netflix tip for a long while, I feel a little sorry for Reed Hastings. I think he knows when I think I know… that the technological shift created a short window for Netflix as a stand-alone, highly successful company.

    The company should have been sold 18 months ago. But the stock was so strong, the price was too high for anyone to pay and the stockholders would have revolted and sued had they sold the company off for less (and more than it’s worth now).

    I feel he got screwed by two groups, both of which were offering fool’s gold. First, the stock market. Second, the movie/television studios, who raped Netflix as soon as the union/guild strikes ended, setting a financial standard that no one could match a year ago, today, or 5 years from now. (In a decade, it will probably be different.) So now, all that Netflix has is international expansion.

    And despite what Hastings claimed yesterday, Sky and Virgin are pushing Hard (amongst others) to make Europe a better post-theatrical/post-TV-broadcast atmosphere than here. (BBCiPlayer is like Hulu and HBO Go combined.)

    There is still value in Netflix. It’s not Blockbuster. It still does what will be standard for decades to come. But it can;t afford to have a huge content blanket as it once did. So it will never be what it was when it was a true leader in innovation, both in shipping DVDs and then streaming.

  8. etguild2 says:

    Do you think Redbox Instant will fill the void and level the competition? People aren’t exactly taking to iTunes or Amazon either for streaming, and they really seem to be on the offensive, snapping up the Blockbuster kiosks.

    I’m kind of in the dark as to the studio restrictions on this, but iTunes especially could be in real trouble rental wise going up against this service.

  9. Mike says:

    Netflix is slowly moving out of the movies business and into the tv business. I think their model is HBO, which has increasingly become more about series than second- or third-run movies.

  10. CG says:

    Our household mainly uses Netflix streaming for TV and the very occasional movie. We have a 4 year old, so streaming is a godsend – lots of PBS and Nick shows with lots of episodes with no commercials and no switching DVDs or accidentally deleting things from the DVR. Mom & Dad watch lots of British TV series (this selection has really exploded on Netflix in the last year or so) and comfort TV (Frasier, etc.) whenever we want it. And we keep the 2-at-a-time DVD plan for all the movies we don’t see in theatres because date nights are rare and expensive. I have no idea what Netflix’s bottom line is, but to us this is very much worth the sixteen bucks a month we pay for it.

  11. Paul D/Stella says:

    Still love Netflix streaming. Right now I’m on season 4 of Friday Night Lights and rewatching Twin Peaks. Recently watched Thor, Goon, Rampart, and Conan the Barbarian 2011. There is always plenty to watch. It’s worth every penny.

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