Netflix gets a price increase

Netflix rate hikeThere I was, late Monday night, getting ready to leave for Ohio the following evening. My girlfriend and I were going to drive through most of the night on Tuesday so we could miss the Wednesday traffic (sidebar: get it together VirginiaDOT – the 77/81 junction looks like it was designed by throwing spaghetti at a wall and letting a first grader draw the signage). As we both packed she said, “Sucks about that Neflix increase, right?” Check the email. Price increase. Back to packing.

I was worried when she first mentioned it, but really, the extra dollar a month doesn’t bother me. I’ve been unbelievably happy with my Netflix subscription, so the extra $12 a year is like a tip for good service.

On the flipside, though, I wish I could justify stepping down to the streaming-only plan. I would love a streaming video service that could rival my music service (MOG). Give me on demand everything, not just the old stuff. As it stands, I keep the DVD part of my Netflix subscription for those movies I want to watch while I work but can’t find elsewhere. I would love to get it all over the cloud, and would likely pay double my current Netflix fee to do it. Time for an industry shift, folks, and the first service to do it will get a helluva lot of subscribers.


New AppleTV brings limited rentals, Netflix

Apple TVI want to love AppleTV, I really do. But Apple refuses to make it into a truly compelling peripheral. This week’s update was much needed – prior to this point the little TV box was completely forgettable. By adding Netflix support and focusing on rentals vs. purchases, I think Apple’s done a smart thing, but it’s only halfway there.

The biggest news is the new access to content. Streaming movie rentals is great, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Netflix offer this as part of a premium service over the course of the next year. TV rentals is great, but it’s only Fox and ABC for now (granted, others will probably get on board quickly) and there’s no mention of how soon after air we’ll get these. It’s likely a short window, but imagine what Apple could have if these were available the instant they aired. That would be something to get excited about, something that would take a lot of money away from cable providers and put it directly in Apple’s pocket.

Ever since I first used a streaming service, I’ve wanted Big Cable to die. I don’t use my TV because I have so many more options when I watch on my computer. I would love it if someone could provide all of those options, all in one place, all for one reasonable price. Would I pay $1 an episode if I could watch the shows I care about live? Of course I would. Cable companies seem to operate under the idea, though, that you should charge one customer for as many things as he might possibly be willing to pay for, instead of providing a service that’s so good that your one customer tells every single person he knows.


Netflix looks to buy exclusive online rights to Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM catalogs

Netflix streaming.According to the LA Times, Netflix is looking to add more titles to its streaming options by adding exclusive access to Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM film catalogs. The deal, which would manifest as a partnership with EPIX, would cost Netflix something like a billion dollars for five years of exclusivity.

Any time Netflix says it will expand its streaming catalog, I’m a happy man. I do most of my movie viewing via streaming on my desktop, often while I’m doing work throughout the day. More options is always a good thing. Unfortunately, this deal would still suffer, as the current streaming system does, from Hollywood mandated “windowing,” pushing streamable titles beyond the rent date. Hopefully studios will start to get more flexible as streaming becomes more and more popular.


Netflix sneaks past Hulu

Hulu vs Netflix.

Netflix and Hulu started dueling for streaming dominance some time ago, and for the most part Hulu has been winning that fight. It looks like Netflix may have taken a leg up, though, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

According to comScore, Netflix barely edged past Hulu in unique visitors this past month. I’ve really enjoyed Netflix streaming service, but the company needs to get up to current seasons if it wants to give Hulu a serious run for it. One of my favorite shows, Party Down (which none of you were watching, which is why it got the ax – shame on you), had current season streaming from Netflix and I watched it every week. It’s a fantastic alternative to a cable subscription, which tends to just fill my living room with a lot of noise.

Hulu’s trying to keep the top spot with Hulu+, granting access to full current seasons and some legacy episodes for a fee. The company’s ad structure could really hold it back, especially when competing with the Netflix platform.


Warner cuts free music stream support logo.Warner’s been making a lot of noise with regard to digital media over the past several weeks. First, we had CEO Bronfman complaining about the flexibility offered to ebook publishers. Now he’s decided that the free streaming method of content delivery isn’t working for his label anymore.

Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed. The ‘get all your music you want for free, and then maybe with a few bells and whistles we can move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of approach to business that we will be supporting in the future.

Though he’s clearly unhappy with the status quo, he didn’t really define whether he would be pulling existing licenses or simply refraining from signing new ones. It’s also not that he doesn’t like streaming – it’s the free part he’s concerned with. As long as the music is paid for by the listener, Bronfman can rest a happy man.

Source: BBC