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James Heartney
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ts, they're not saying they won't be getting new seasons of those TV shows in future; all it means is you won't be seeing the current season concurrently with it airing. The current seasons will show up on Netflix next year, when new seasons are airing. Essentially, this just means they're not going head-to-head with Hulu for currently-airing programming. Wise, I think; even assuming they could get rights, it would chew up too much of their acquisition budget.
Hastings knows that DVD By Mail is a business model in decline, and is adapting the company to coming changes. It's a cliche, but it's also the truth - streaming is the future. One huge advantage streaming has (aside from better profit margins and actual growth potential) is that technically, it's not frozen in place. Given that a streaming service can query customers and provide the correct stream type for their hardware, streaming can add capabilities, codecs and features in a way disks and broadcast can't. Eventually customers will have fiber connections many times the speed of current DSL or cable setups, and when that happens you'll get blu-ray quality streams and 3D (if it's still around). People begging for a Netflix competitor don't seem to grasp how much of a lead the company has. To succeed in this, you need a whole set of pieces (viable library, apps on most appropriate devices, streaming infrastructure, customer base) that are really hard to build once there's a strong incumbent. All the recent talk of decline at Netflix was incredibly stupid, and going forward, we'll see why.
@Art Artistry I looked up Zediva, which was a fly-by-night operation playing copyrighted content without securing permission, which is not at all what I am talking about. I'm talking about rights-holders choosing to release their content through streaming rather than through a packaged product. This is easier to do than producing the disks, and if streaming services offer the right price, could be attractive enough to give the streamers a larger library, given time.
@Art Artistry I think you must have me confused with someone else. What is Zediva? I'm also trying to figure out what I'm "dead wrong" about, since nothing in your comment has anything to do with the comment I made here. I stated that over time, streaming could offer a far more comprehensive library than prepackaged disks because encoding for streaming is simpler than producing packaged disks. You seem to think I was complaining about pricing, which I was not doing.
(crossposted from the Kibble blog) For all those complaining about the fact that streaming has a smaller catalog, I’ll just note that there’s no inherent reason why this should be so. Creating a packaged DVD requires a large effort – designing and encoding the content, producing the disks, producing the packaging, warehousing and shipping the product, and dealing with returns etc. Streaming is much simpler – you just encode and post the product info. The only reason we have such a large back catalog of DVD’s is because it’s an older format. In a few years I expect the availability situation to reverse, with many more titles available to stream than to buy or rent on disk.
Really glad I don't own any Netflix stock. Seems like they are trying to drive it into the ground.
Edit to above: and disallowed sharing ratings and other feedback.
It doesn't affect me personally (we're streaming-only), but this strikes me as yet another boneheaded marketing move. They are splitting the DVD and streaming web infrastructure, so if you rate movies on one it will no longer be reflected in the other. If you depend on ratings for suggestions, you now have to put twice as much work into doing ratings in order to get the same benefit from it. Also, if you have both services, it will no longer tell you if an item in your DVD queue has become available for streaming. I predict much bellyaching, and this time, I think it'll be justified. There are a couple of points to make about this. Both the price increase and this splitting of the sites were things that may have made sense to them in the back room, but which cheese off massive numbers of customers. I think Hastings & Co. are just unable to envision how their decisions look to customers, so they get blindsided by the negative reaction. Related to this, Netflix as a company has grown tremendously in recent years, and now is a very different beast from what it used to be, if only for reasons of scale. As a result, the methodology for making decisions has to change too, and it hasn't. I wonder if Hastings did any market research on how customers would see the new company, or if they researched how it would play if they split the DVD and streaming queues and disallowed ratings and other feedback. I'm guessing they didn't. From what I can see, they didn't even bother to buy up related URL's to the new one they are launching (they don't seem to own quickster.com or kwickster.com), which is nearly criminal negligence. All of these things (researching customer reactions, thinking through what the proposed changes mean to customers and their user experience, buying up related URL's) are absolutely necessary if you are making these sorts of changes with a company Netflix's size. Reed Hastings needs to understand he has to do them now that he is running an entity this size. If he won't, then he'll keep making these sorts of tremendous blunders.
A. This is not anything new. The supposed limit on concurrent streams has been official policy for as long as I have been streaming (over a year). If you wanted more streams you had to buy a more DVD's-out-at-a-time plan. B. It's generally not enforced, in my experience. C. I think Netflix does need to offer a plan for more concurrent streams to streaming-only customers, maybe for a few bucks more per stream. I guess you could buy multiple $7.99 plans if it was bothering you, of course, but as time goes on and more people have more Netflix-ready devices, this will be come a live issue. D. What sort of cheapskates share an account with neighbors/relatives that only costs $7.99/month?
With months to go till Starz titles disappear from Netflix, I think this is just a negotiating tactic. My guess is they (Netflix and Starz) both really need the deal, and Starz won't be able to afford to walk away from whatever Reed Hundt offers them. Streaming is the future of content distribution. The players are all fighting for how it will be structured, but none of them can afford to walk away from it completely. Starz and the studios have massive egos, but eventually they have no choice but to make some deals, even if it's for less than they think they are worth.
I have AT&T DSL, and my Rokus have been doing fine the past few weeks. One thing you can try if your Roku is misbehaving is switching WiFi channels. I have an XD that at one point I was about to through out the window because it would not work. After switching WiFi channels, it runs beautifully.
I think the mechanics of the rollout of the new pricing scheme were poorly done, and this contributed to a lot of the backlash. Moving to their new pricing structure by degrees, for example, would have softened the blow. Making the announcement direct to customers rather than issuing a press release and letting media outlets put their own spin on it would have been a much better way to break the news; the way it was actually done amounts to PR malpractice. This HuffPo slideshow http://tinyurl.com/3u8er5e gives a good breakdown on how badly Netflix bungled the announcement. It would make a good business case study in how not to handle a price change.
Ah, technical troubles. Thanks for doing the vid; I enjoyed it, sound or no.
I assume he turned off the sounds for the demo; the soundtrack is a big part of the fun with Angry Birds.
This contradicts what I was told yesterday by Roku tech support. They specifically said that subtitles would be enabled on older Rokus after the next update.
So will older Roku owners get the subtitles feature, or do you have to buy the new hardware? I can play Angry Birds on my desktop machine, on my iPad or iPhone, so frankly having it on the Roku isn't all that compelling to me. But I'd bought my Roku with the idea that it would eventually support subtitles. Am I about to be screwed on that?
I've long thought that Netflix was such an incredible deal that it'd still be a bargain if they doubled the price. Compare it to cable, or to what Blockbuster used to charge, and you'll see what I mean. Even comparing to Redbox, if you took out four DVD's in a month and kept each an average of two days, you'd match Netflix' DVD-only price. Most of what we watch on Netflix is streaming, and it comes to quite a lot. For discs, we can get them from our local public library for nothing (provided we bring them back in time). I'm guessing we'll drop the DVD option; if we do, this comes to a price decrease.
@ncmacasl I've heard the promises wrt subtitles for Roku; this time last year they were saying they have them by first quarter of 2011. I won't be the least surprised if January 2012 rolls around with still no subtitles.
I can understand people who prefer Blu-Ray quality etc. wanting disks, and I can sympathise with people who don't want to deal with the technical hassles of streaming. OTOH for us, I should think over 90% of the value of our Netflix membership comes from the streaming side. As bandwidth capacity increases, I expect that much of the difference in quality between streams and disks will disappear. Eventually DVD's and Blu-Rays will go the way of the vinyl LP, i.e. not dead but relegated to a niche market. And just as well; it makes more sense to send bits to the consumer rather than disks, which use valuable resources to build, ship and store, and which eventually end up in landfills. Brian Kohn I have a deaf family member as well, and we are pretty frustrated at how long it's taking for our Roku's to support captions. The good news is our Wii and iPad already have captioning, and supposedly more devices are on the way. I'd guess your Xbox will be the first device to get captioning; the TV and BD player may never get them. We're keeping our fingers crossed here WRT the Rokus. (Occasionally I go and whinge on the Roku forums about when are they getting captions dammit.)
Smy Lee As I noted, physical media isn't anywhere close to being gone at this point. All I'm saying is that we can see its eventual fate. Not sure why having content on corporate-manufactured physical media is more "free" than having it on cloud-based servers. As I see it, media companies main interest is money, so their incentive is to make content as widely available as possible. Anyway, a world in which consumers can access a huge universe of content electronically means any specific release faces massive competition for customer attention. The end of physical media puts consumers in the driver's seat, not media companies.
I imagine the idea is to hook it up with iCloud and iTunes to allow you buy programs through the iTunes store which are then stored in iCloud for you to watch. This way they don't need to provide local storage on the TV. Unless they are planning a subscription service I don't see them even competing with Netflix. The problem with pay-per-view models is you are penalizing your customers for using your service - the more they use it, the more they have to pay. By contrast, a subscription encourages customers to use the service so much they become completely dependent on it. Given their track record I wouldn't count Apple out on this (or anything else). But I'm not seeing a viable business proposition in this brief description.
Maybe I'm out of the mainstream, but I don't think I have any third party apps that try to manage the DVD queue. The Roku doesn't; it just deals with streaming titles. The closest I can think of for this is my Wii, which shows titles that are available DVD-only, in read-only format. (I'm guessing these API changes would not affect the iPad app if it's being maintained by Netflix and not Apple, and thus can probably access non-public API's.) The writing's on the wall for physical media. (And as far as I'm concerned, good riddance.) Once there's fiber going out to end-users, the digital pipe should be fat enough to deal with true-HD, eliminating the need for BD. This won't happen for some years, but you can tell that it's coming.
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Jun 21, 2011