Netflix is killing cable. How many times have you heard that? (Admittedly, you probably heard it a lot more before Netflix's price hike and the whole Quikster thing.) But after years of painting streaming services as the devil, a new report says that the cable companies may be considering a Faustian deal: signing a pact with Netflix and offering it as an optional service straight from your cable box.
The Netflix outage was just another subtle reminder that the cloud isn’t perfect, but either way the company seems to be taking the issue head on by offering customers the opportunity to receive a 2% credit to cover the period they were offline. Update: Credit might be higher depending on your plan.
It may only work out to a few dimes for most people, but either way its great to see them offer reparations for those who took the day off work for a Mad Men marathon. Keep an eye on your inbox for a link that applies the credit to your account if your interested in cashing in.
Did Netflix create any good will with this move? Or would they have been better to sweep this one under the rug? It sure beats bending over to pickup coins off the sidewalk!
The news broke today that troubled movie streaming service Vudu is being acquired by Wal-Mart for a rumored $100 million. Amid interest from Comcast, Amazon, and Best Buy it seems that America’s largest retailer just had the deepest pockets and the apatite to get into the streaming game. The deal is likely to be finalized in a matter of weeks.
Wal-Mart is the largest seller of DVDs, but has never had a platform for delivery of video over the internet. With the purchase of Vudu, they have a mature service with many content deals already in place. The interesting thing about Vudu is that they stopped making a stand-alone hardware box last year, instead focusing on getting their software embedded in various devices like TVs and Blu-Ray players. Guess who sells a lot of TVs. Yep, Wal-Mart.
It would be reasonable to expect Wal-Mart to aggressively push Vudu enabled TV’s and other devices now that they own it. We may also see manufacturers become more receptive to adding the Vudu service to their products now that a behemoth like Wal-mart is involved. Wal-mart effectively drives down prices wherever they go, could that also hold true in the video streaming space? Could we be looking at a cheap streaming future? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Here’s how it works: Netflix has a deal with Starz Play where Starz resells Netflixs its movie licenses. Netflix then trots these films out on its Netflix Watch Instantly service. Starz is happy. Netflix is happy. Netflix’s customers are happy. Disney and Dreamworks aren’t happy. And since it’s there content, they have the final say.
Disney and Dreamworks want more money for what they’re providing. (Who didn’t see that coming?) If Starz doesn’t agree, or if the economics become untenable, then Netflix and its customers will lose out.
It seems, like with music, that movie studios, still operating under last century’s economic models, are intent in killing off a burgeoning new content delivery system because they can’t make as much money as they feel they deserve--regardless of what the system is capable of delivering. It didn’t work well for the music industry. Hard to see how it will work out any better for the movie industry.
Microsoft continues its quest to convince people to watch TV on their PCs with today’s announcement that Netflix subscribers can finally stream more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes through Windows Media Center. But there’s a catch; two, actually.
As it turns out, YouTube’s recent addition of their theater mode will be used for not only longer high-def videos, but full-length feature films as well. One of Hollywood’s biggest (and still unnamed) movie studios could be adding content to the site as early as next month.
Google has been in talks with major film companies for months about launching ad-supported movies on YouTube, and two unnamed executives stated that the deal wouldn’t be sealed immediately, “But it's going to happen. I would say you can expect to see it, if all goes well, sometime within the next 30 to 90 days.”
Currently Hulu is the leader in online hi-def video and YouTube is hoping to take a shot at the throne. Hulu has found an honorable halfway point between ads and content, but it remains unclear that YouTube will be able to replicate that. Google has yet to disclose any specifics, but a spokeswoman commented, “We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers.” While blanket statements are fun, they leave much to be desired.
I suppose, with most deals like this one, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Let me just say it: I love Netflix. Sometimes I feel like we don't even deserve to be together. Tempted by Blockbuster's in-store exchange policy, I left Netflix behind for a steamy, yet ultimately short lived affair. It all came to a screeching halt when Blockbuster changed the rules of our relationship, demanding more of my money for less of its features.
Since then, I've rekindled my relationship with Neflix, who welcomed me back with open arms, and the thrill of unlimited in-store DVD exchanges on the cheap is nothing more than a memory of broken promises. I'm fully committed to Netflix now, and by all accounts, it appears Netflix is fully committed to me.
Hit the jump to see why I think this love affair will be a long lasting one.