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?
You may be familiar with the Redbox DVD rental kiosks, but company president Mitch Lowe hinting at the next step for Redbox. In a recent interview, Lowe discussed their intention to expand the selection beyond what can be crammed into their kiosks. This isn't likely to be a shipping model like Netflix mostly relies on, but a streaming service.
Rumored pricing is only $3.95 per month for unlimited streaming and four kiosk rental a month. By comparison, Netflix plans start at $8.99 per month for streaming and a single mailed DVD at a time. The make or break element of Redbox's service would be the selection. Netflix has famously sought to get newer movies on their streaming service, but the selection is still lacking top content. Could Redbox come from nowhere and surpass Netflix?
If this plan actually come to fruition, Blockbuster is likely to be the biggest loser. The video rental chain is already on the verge of bankruptcy, and a new push from Redbox could do them in.
With the announcement that Netflix is bringing its streaming TV and movie service north of the border, our Canadian brethren have one less thing to complain about.
"Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs," Netflix announced today.
At launch, the service will be available in English only, but there are plans to add French language capability sometime down the line.
While Netflix continues to spread its presence on even more devices -- look for the streaming video service to shuttle onto the iPhone this summer -- one time rival Blockbuster is struggling just to stay in business. It's hard to call the two rivals anymore considering the sorry state the rental chain is in.
The latest victory for Blockbuster has nothing to do with one-upping Netflix or Redbox, but in winning a one-month reprieve on debt payments, Reuters reports. And even that comes with a caveat - the mega rental chain must begin delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.
After failing to make debt payments on July 1, Blockbuster said it struck a forbearance agreement with creditors holding some 70 percent of its 11.75 percent senior secured notes due 2014. Collectively, creditors are owed about $440 million, and they've agreed to hold off from exercising "remedies" until August 13.
"Six weeks is not a long time in a tough economy, where nobody has much credit," said Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities. "There's nothing on the horizon that makes it look like Blockbuster is going to be more profitable."
Paramount has taken the opposite stance to that of their fellow Hollywood studios regarding DVD rental service Redbox. Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox have all extracted a deal from Redbox that sees them making movies available only after a 28 day waiting period. This is intended to drive sales of the newly released discs. In reality, it most likely just drives consumers mad. Paramount has agreed to allow Redbox to rent movies the day they are made available for sale.
The rental landscape is changing rapidly with services like Netflix and Redbox. Redbox offers rentals for $1 per night. Paramount seems to be taking note of the boost Redbox is offering. " There hasn't been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox, and Redbox was allowing us to expand our business and ultimately make more money," said Paramount Home Entertainment president Dennis Maguire.
Netflix has gotten the same treatment from Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, but it may be different with Paramount. When they work out their next arrangement, Maguire said they will go in with similar intentions. Do you frequent a local Redbox? Would a release window make you more likely to purchase a movie?
Following the recent launch of Apple's Safari 5 Web browser, users have been reporting that Netflix streaming no longer works. We expect this to be sorted out rather quickly, but in the meantime, there's a pretty simple workaround - use a better browser. Oops, did we just say that?
We kid (kind of). For those of you who want to stick it out with Safari, you can take matters into your own hands until an official fix is in. The problem stems from the browser agent string, which Netflix doesn't yet recognize as a supported browser. All you have to do is change this back to Safari 4.1 and you're golden. Here's how:
Click the Gear icon (Settings) and select Preference > Advanced. Check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" box. Now click the Paper icon (Menu) and select Develop > User Agent > Safari 4.1 -- Mac (yes, you select this option even on a Windows machine).
That's it, you're now ready to one again stream Netflix movies and TV shows to your browser. Just be aware that if you later plan to surf a Safari 5 optimized site, you'll want to switch this back.
A new study from ScanScout could be mighty troubling to advertising types. Apparently about 24% of all online video is being watched during the traditional television primetime hours of 8PM-11PM. You know, the time the networks assume we're watching so they can charge more for ads. It's really starting to look like online video is replacing a certain amount of live TV viewing.
The programmers have always seen their online offerings as a secondary option for people, not as a replacement for their broadcasts. This is evidenced by the approach networks are taking to Hulu and Netflix. But these numbers indicate viewers are perfectly happy to stream what they want if the network isn't giving it to them.
The study also clearly indicated that primetime isn't the only time people sit down to stream video. The other time when users streamed higher than average amounts of content was weekend days. It was 31% higher than during weekdays. It's clear that when people have time to watch a program, they are increasingly turning to online sources. Do you find online video is eating up time you might have spent watching TV in the past?
Netflix has been adding subscribers at a nice clip, seeing an amazing 1.7 million new subscribers in jus the first quarter. As such, it's no surprise that the company is reporting that they've met aggressive earning expectations with total revenue of $493 million. But a lot of those subscribers are signing on and staying largely because of the Netflix Instant Streaming service.
The Netflix streaming service suffered from scant selection at launch, but is now getting more expansive all the time. Those hoping for physical disks are a little displeased about the recent series of quid pro quos. These deals have Netflix delaying DVD releases in favor of increase streaming licenses. Netflix is claiming that in the last quarter 55% of users streamed at least one item from the catalog. That's up from 36% at this time last year.
The reason is clear. While it has always been available on PCs, all the major consoles now have a Netflix streaming option, and there are inexpensive options like the Roku box. There is also a plug-in for Windows Media Center that accomplishes the same function. Users of the Xbox 360 need to maintain a Xbox Gold account to take advantage of Netflix streaming, but the numbers show that isn't much of an impediment. If you use Netflix instant Streaming, let us know how you like it and what platform you use.
A little over two weeks ago, Netflix announced that it had mailed out streaming discs to a number of Wii owners to enable streaming on their console. At the time, Netflix said it was in the final phase of getting ready for the launch to the Wii, and now the wait appears to be over for all Wii owners.
"Jessie Becker here from Marketing and we're thrilled to let you know that we are now shipping instant streaming discs for the Wii to ALL members who want one today!," Becker wrote in an official blog post.
Wii owners who haven't already reserved a disc but would like to can do so here. In addition to the disc, Wii owners also need to be subscribed to one of Netflix's unlimited plans starting at $8.99 a month.
Try playing hide-and-seek against Netflix and you'll lose every time. There's just no hiding from Netflix and its streaming service, which is available on all three major game consoles, television sets, standalone players, Blu-ray players, and just about everywhere else.
Netflix's aggressive streaming strategy paid off big for early adopters of Apple's iPad bemoaning the lack the Flash support. Available on the same day the iPad launched, the free app gives Netflix subscribers access to the streaming service's online catalog of movies and TV shows, while also giving iPhone and iPod owners a touch of envy, though not for long.
"Terrific response to our news today about Netflix on the iPad," Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications, wrote in a blog post. "For those of you asking whether Netflix will be on the iPhone and iPod touch: We wouldn't invite you to dinner without planning to serve dessert. In other words, we're working on it so stay tuned."'