If you're planning to pay for the delivery of a digital movie to your home, odds are strong that you're paying Netflix for the privilege. A new NPD Group study tells us that Netflix holds a whopping 61% of the digital movie market. That's fairly impressive in and of itself, but the complete scattering of the rest of the market is remarkable as well.
CBS has been notable in the last few years for their almost complete lack of streaming content deals. But today Netflix and CBS have announced that they have entered into a two-year deal that will bring a large swath of CBS content to Netflix Instant Streaming. Hulu users will still be left out in the cold by CBS however.
We've been hearing rumblings for months now that Redbox has been laying the groundwork to challenge Netflix in video streaming. Redbox president Mitch Lowe has now confirmed this fact in a meeting with analysts. According to Lowe, the service would be a subscription-based model, much like Netflix.
All Things D is reporting today that the Hulu deal that resulted in the return of The Daily Show among other programs cost more than you might expect. Those close to the deal say Hulu is paying at least $40 million to Viacom. The payment could go up depending on the performance of the content.
The length of the deal has not been disclosed to the general public, but Viacom has said the arrangement will go into 2012. We suspect a 2 year deal. The Daily Show and Colbert Report will be available the day after they air, but some other Viacom properties will only be on Hulu 21 days after their premiere.
Hulu likely expects to increase ad revenue with these popular shows, and they're going to have to considering the price they paid. Are you more likely to watch Hulu with these shows once again available?
Several companies are scrambling to enter the arena with Netflix before it’s too late, and if an Engadget tipster is right, Amazon might just be the first serious competitor to step up to the plate. Screenshots were obtained by a reader which showcased an unlimited video streaming section that was included as part of his Prime membership. At just $79 per year the free shipping alone made a Prime membership worthwhile for many Amazon customers, but if this deal ends up being true, then the pot has been sweetened considerably.
The watch instantly section claims to offer “unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows”, and the lineup seems to mirror Netflix’s current offering fairly closely. The resolution advertised was only 480p, but presumably this too might change in time.
Unfortunately nobody else has been able to duplicate the screenshots so they are either a really convincing Photoshop project, or an accidental leak/preview of what the future holds for Prime members. What do you think? Does this pass the sniff test, or do you smell a scam?
Video streaming and disc rental service Netflix has come out swinging with an analysis of various ISPs' ability to reliably stream Netflix video, Cnet reports. When all the numbers were in, smallish ISP Charter Communication was the winner, barely edging out Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon were in the middle of the back, and wireless ISP Clearwire was dead last.
This report seems aimed at making ISPs nervous. Netflix has a product that many people love, and the idea that their ISP isn't giving them the best Netflix experience could sway consumers. It only makes sense with the wrangling over bandwidth access fees. Some ISPs have made it known they don't like having to pay to pass all the Netflix data to their customers. Netflix seems to be saying Don't mess with us. We're watching.
The data was acquired by averaging the sustained download rates of each ISP across their entire footprint for a three month period. The newer DOCSIS 3 cable internet connections likely helped cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner to boost their scores here. Companies that rely mainly on DSL didn't really have a chance. How well does your ISP handle that Netflix stream?
Over at Digital Society they have done a little math based on recent statements from Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. The numbers they looked at tell us how much Netflix spends to get video content in front of your eyeballs. It turns out, that it costs the company 20 times more to mail you a disc, than it costs to stream the content to you. No wonder they're pushing for a streaming-only model.
Netflix is currently spending about $1 round trip to mail you a DVD movie. Streaming that same content to your connected device only cists them 5 cents in bandwidth. With over 2 million discs going out each year, that comes out to about $700 million spent every year on postage. This is why the higher license fees for streaming content make sense for Netflix. The cost of delivering the content is so much lower, the company can still make a killing.
We understand that the streaming options are less than perfect much of the time, but Netflix seems to be working to change that. With numbers like these, we expect they are trying very, very hard.
The news just broke shortly ago that the Comcast-NBC deal has been approved by government regulators. The FCC approved the sale of NBC Universal to Comcast by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Michael Copps was the lone holdout. In a statement he said the deal "opens the door to the cable-ization of the open Internet." We had been expecting the FCC to ok the deal, but the Justice Department was always more of an unknown.
Almost immediately after the FCC vote, the Justice Department also approved the deal, according to a Comcast press release. Now that both agencies have given their stamp of approval, the acquisition is expected to go through by the end of January. This will make Comcast a first of its kind media powerhouse.
Early indications are that at least some of the FCC's conditions will be in place for the deal to proceed. Comcast will be required to allow online video distributors (read: Netflix) access to their content. Additionally, Comcast will be allowed to retain its stake in Hulu, but will have to relinquish its decision making role. How do you feel about the deal?
Netflix has made no secret of its intention to be primarily a streaming company. Although, much of the content out there is only available in disc form. Netflix's recent decision to limit the ways customers can add those discs to their queue has caused quite an uproar. Users can no longer use connected streaming devices, like the PS3 or iPad, to add items to their DVD queue. These are now streaming only devices with no ability to manage the DVD queue.
Many users who commented on the Netflix blog post about the change accused the company of moving to dismantle their disc rental business in favor of streaming. It does fit with the recent addition of streaming-only plans, and the increase in price of disc rental plans. The change in queue management may have also been done in part because the new streaming-only users don't even have disc queues to manage.
Netflix for its part said, "We’re doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly. Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality." While that may be true, we have a hard time believing this isn't also another step in phasing out discs.
One of the provisions in the new FCC mandated net neutrality deal would have Comcast-NBC sharing their content with multiple online video providers. The only problem, NBC has already worked out an exclusive deal with Hulu. This could mean the FCC is looking to take Hulu down a peg, by spreading content more widely.
The relevant section of the regulation reads, "Comcast would be required to offer NBC Universal programming to any online video provider that has reached a similar deal for content with some of NBC’s competitors." This would make Hulu less of a draw if the content could be had elsewhere. Hulu's premium service has already had trouble attracting subscribers.
Of course, it is also possible that the FCC has little intention of enforcing these regulations, in which case Hulu could continue on as usual. We like the idea of having content available everywhere, but without a controlled experience where content producers get a big cut of the take, they might sour on the idea of online distribution even more than they already have.