In addition to free healthcare, Newegg, and some of the best bacon in the world, Canada now has access to Netlfix's streaming service, the online movie rental company announced.
"Jessie Becker here, delighted to tell you that today our neighbors to the north (or 'neighbours,' to use the Canadian spelling) can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes from Netflix to TVs and computers for only CDN$7.99 a month," Jessie Becker, of Head of Marketing, Netflix, announced in a blog post.
This marks the first time Netflix has ventured outside of the U.S, and depending on how things go, more territories are likely to follow.
"For now, we're focused on Canada," Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix, said. "If we succeed in Canada, we will certainly look at other markets.
Hastings said "Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, or Russia" could all be future destinations, adding "It's unlikely to be Africa, but other than that, all continents are open."
The day had finally arrived; Blockbuster has finally filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Chapter 11 means that the company will have the opportunity to reorganize and rid itself of cumbersome debt. In the filing, Blockbuster listed $1.02 billion in assets, and $1.46 billion in debt. The company expects to be able to reduce its total debt to a mere $125 million.
Blockbuster has been seeing steadily decreasing sales as digital services like Netflix have taken of in recent years. The Dallas-based company has about 3000 stores currently. They are expected to close as many as 1000 of them. After they complete reorganization, Blockbuster will attempt to focus more on digital content delivery. Considering the lateness of this push, they'll have a lot of catching up to do.
The future is unclear for the brick and mortar chain. They have been able to bundle video rental app with some phones as of late, and this could be a possible way to move forward. We'd also like to see a viable competitor to Netflix in the online streaming category. But the worry is that content would become increasingly siloed; exclusive to one company or the other. Do you think Blockbuster can find a place in the market?
Take note cable companies, more than a third of Netflix subscribers aged 25 to 34 have chosen the online movie rental's streaming service over pay television. That's according to a new survey by Credit Suisse, which also found that about 30 percent of Netflix's subscribers aged 18 to 24 made the same decision.
"Netflix's low cost, subscription streaming service (with improving content) is our biggest worry and could become 'good enough' for consumers with moderate income and TV usage to use as a substitute for pay TV," said Credit Suisse's Spencer Wang.
The survey only pinged 250 Netflix subscribers, but initial findings should be cause for concern for cable operators. According to the survey, 17 percent, or almost one in five, of Netflix subscribers of all ages and incomes have migrated to Netflix's streaming service in place of cable TV.
"In the near term, we submit that Big Media has a small window of opportunity to control its own destiny," said Credit Suisse. "The major U.S. entertainment conglomerates control 70 percent of all TV viewing through its various broadcast, basic cable, and premium TV networks and channels. And, content remains the lifeblood for distribution systems."
Google has been quietly dabbling in streaming movie rentals since the beginning of this year. YouTube's repertoire of rentable movies continues to grow at a steady pace, but the service commands little attention. That is likely to change in the next few months as big G plans to add streaming movie rentals from major film studios to its catalog, according to a Financial Times report that cites several sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between Google and the movie studios.
The plan is to launch the streaming movie rental service, or more accurately its expanded avatar, in the US first, before offering it to the rest of the world. New titles will be available for streaming at the same time as their Blu-ray and DVD releases, with each movie rental costing $5.
If none of the movies in YouTube's current catalog impress you, or if you live in a country where the service is currently unavailable, then you could consider scouring its Movies channel, a repository of free streaming movies that recently received a massive shot in the arm through partnerships with movies studios like Lionsgate, MGM and Sony Pictures. The channel now boasts 400 free movies that can be watched from anywhere in the world.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed lawsuits against no fewer than nine silicon valley companies over alleged patent infringements. Targets of the suit are Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, eBay, Staples, Yahoo, AOL, and YouTube. Allen is claiming infringement of four patents by the companies. All the intellectual property in question was held by a silicon valley startup Allen ran several years ago. The company is now gone.
All the patents are described as integral to the businesses of these companies. One example is a patent held by Allen for offering suggestions on an ecommerce site based on what a customer is viewing. Facebook had a comment ready saying, "We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously."
Conspicuously absent from the suit is Microsoft, which Allen is still an investor in. Amazon is also missing; the only connection there is that Amazon is based in Allen's home town of Seattle. Do you think Allen is pursuing a legitimate course of action, or is he acting like a patent troll?
Netflix announced last week a deal with Epix valued at $900 million to bring more premium content to their streaming service. While this is great news for users, don't expect any of the high-quality shows from Time Warner owned HBO to end up on Netflix anytime soon. HBO Co-President Eric Kessler recently explained, "There is value in exclusivity. Consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.”
HBO has plans to launch a streaming service of thier own called HBO Go in the next six months. A Netflix spokesperson expressed their desire to work with HBO saying, "Compete with us or collaborate with us, but we would much rather work with them.” It seems HBO feels they can adequately compete with Netflix, having already secured content deals for their online service with Comcast and Verizon.
No word yet on how much HBO Go would charge, but it's probably going to be more than Netflix's rock-bottom $8.99 per month (the minimum account with full streaming access). How much would you pay to access HBO shows like True Blood and The Sopranos?
As much as we love our streaming Netflix service, if there's one gripe (and it's a pretty big one), it's that the catalog of titles isn't anywhere near as fleshed out as we'd like it to be. But hey, at least Netflix is headed in the right direction, as evidenced by a deal with premium cable channel Epix reportedly valued at over $900 million.
Who the frak is Epix, you ask? Epix is owned and operated by Studio 3 Partners, a joint venture that includes Viacom (Paramount Pictures), MGM, and Lionsgate, all of which we're willing to bet you have heard of.
Under terms of the near $1 billion deal, Netflix will be allowed to stream titles from all three studios 90 days after they make their debut on Epix, giving the streaming service access to a greater number of big name titles.
The first such titles will start to trickle out on September 1st.
Netflix is already available on Apple's iPad and seems right at home on a handheld tablet. Will Android owners be next? It's certainly looking that way.
According to a recent Netflix job posting, the online movie rental/streaming service is looking for an engineer to help "build Instant Streaming client implementations on Android devices." There's no mention of whether that includes Android tablets, smartphones, or both, but it's at least clear that Netflix is headed to Google's open-source OS.
"That job is posted but we're not commenting beyond that," a Netflix spokesman said.
Those interested must have "10+ years of relevant software development experience" and "have implemented video playback on Android-based devices" before.
Everyone's favorite DVD rental kiosk, Redbox, is about to take a big step into the realm of high definition. The company will soon be rolling out Blu-ray discs to their locations, but it will cost customers a bit more pocket change. Regular DVDs have always gone for $1 per night, but Blu-rays will run you $1.50 per night.
At first, the selection will be limited, with titles like The Book of Eli, Green Zone, Bounty Hunter, and Brooklyn's Finest showing up in the first batch. The delay in moving to Blu-ray was tied to a legal dispute with the studios. Redbox has agreed to wait 28 days after a film's disc release before stocking it. This move brings Redbox to parity with Netflix, which has been offering Blu-rays by mail for some time.
At the rate Redbox and Netflix are taking over the market, we have to wonder how Blockbuster can expect to continue on. Are you a frequent user of Redbox? Does $1.50 for a Blu-ray sound like a reasonable price to you?
Remember the other day when the hot rumor was that Redbox would be taking on Netflix with a streaming service? Well, it looks like they're going to have more of a deficit to make up than we thought. Netflix has just announced that their overall subscriber count has jumped 42% since last year. The numbers, while in line with Netflix's predictions, and pretty substantial in our estimation, were not up to analyst expectations, and Netflix stock is trading down about 10%.
Another interesting tidbit from Netflix's quarterly statement is that 61% of their customers streamed at least one TV show or movie during the quarter. Clearly, people have embraced the streaming service in a big way. Raw revenue was up only 27% over last year, indicating that many customers were opting for cheaper plans, that still include the streaming service. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even called the demand for Netflix Watch Instantly "astounding".
Are you a new customer to Netflix? Let us know how you use the service. Is it just the occasional disc and lots of streaming, or do you prefer to get the physical media as much as possible?