Did Paramount Take a Shot at Netflix’s Streaming Service?

    October 5, 2011

As many Netflix users are already well aware of, the company has something of an issue with new movies released to the home consumer. In fact, one of the biggest complaints about the Netflix streaming service is the abject lack of this new material, something Netflix doesn’t consider an issue, regardless of what their customers say.

Granted, it’s easy to understand why Netflix would try to spin their services in a positive, but the fact remains, it comes off like they don’t care about their members. Perhaps those who are minding the Netflix corporate offices would be better served laying the blame at the feet of the companies that deserve instead of responding to the issue with mere lip service reactions. The companies in question who deserve the blame for this lack of new movie releases (for the home, or course) are the movie studios themselves.

It’s really not Netflix’s fault Warner Brothers would rather a flaying Blockbuster and On Demand services get their new releases first, although, perhaps Netflix could’ve pushed back a little stronger.

As with most things having to do with access in regards to entertainment content, it comes down to money.

With that in mind, is Paramount’s latest marketing move for the home release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon a shot at Netflix or the entire middle man industry that makes up home movie distribution? The reason for query has to do with the fact that, if you are so inclined, you can rent the third installment in the Transformers series directly from Paramount via their video on demand service.

The rental, which costs $4.99 for high-def and $3.99 for standard, can only be seen — this soon — at Paramount’s VOD site. Previously, Paramount partnered with Facebook to show Jackass, but apparently, the buzz fizzled on that arrangement, and so, Paramount circumvented every middle man out there and decided to offer the stream on their own property.

Is this strategy a direct shot at Netflix? Is this the wave of the future in regards to home movie rentals/purchases? If so, why did Paramount (and others) wait so long to offer their own content, nixing out companies like Amazon and, of course, Netflix? Or does removing potential revenue streams — just HBO did with Netflix — about as misguided of business decision as one can make?

Or is this a case of these studios asking too much for their prime content, and so, services like Netflix and others simply decline the opportunity to participate? After reading about the Starz/Netflix break up, which, again, was all about money, Netflix not wanting to be held hostage by these distribution companies makes sense.

Unfortunately, however, such territorial pissings only hurt the consumer.

All things considered, it’s honestly surprising studios like Paramount haven’t said “screw the middle man” much sooner than they have, especially now that technology clearly supports the streaming of content, even content as large as high definition movies. Is Dark of the Moon the first step in an inevitable trend or is this simply a marketing ploy on Paramount’s behalf?

Let us know what you think.