Will Netflix Survive in the Face of Increasing Competition?By: Chris Crum - September 24, 2011
It was only a few months ago, when Netflix seemed nearly untouchable in its space you hardly heard anything negative from members about the experience the company was providing. Oh, how the times have changed and changed quickly.
Netflix member? Will you stick with it? Comment here.
It started even before Netflix announced its controversial pricing plans. Netflix launched a redesign, and people were up in arms over that. Little did they know that they would soon have to pay 60% more to keep the dvd-by-mail and streaming service combination they had enjoyed for so long. You probably know that story. While there were certainly plenty defending Netflix’s decision, there were considerably more visible negative comments on the move.
Not long after that, it was revealed that Netflix would be losing Starz content as part of its streaming offering. This is a huge blow to users, as this particular partnership has been a key provider of many of the newer movie titles including from Disney and Sony.
Then there was talk about Netflix cracking down on multiple streams per account, though Netflix said, “No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams.”
About a week later, Netflix lowered its subscriber projections and its stock plummeted.
Then, a few days after that, the company made the big announcement that it was just separating its DVD business entirely, making it a separate company called Qwikster. Users who want both services would now have to have two separate accounts with different companies. Some have speculated that Netflix separated the DVD business so it can sell it, and that may very well be the case.
Some think the whole thing presents an opportunity for Amazon to kill Netflix (and that Amazon should buy Hulu to aid that quest).
Then there’s Blockbuster, which was recently acquired by DISH Network. DISH announced Blockbuster Movie Pass, which includes: access to over 100,000 DVD movies, TV shows and games by mail (with no additional charge for Blu-ray), 3,000 streaming titles to the TCV, over 4,000 streaming movies to the PC, hundreds of on-demand TV shows, over 3,000 games by mail for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3 and Wii, unlimited exchanges of DVDs and games at participating Blockbuster stores. It also includes over 20 premium channels like MGM, Epix, Sony Movie Channel, PixL, etc.
This becomes available to DISH Network customers starting October 1 at plans starting at $10 per month. That’s going to give Netflix and Qwikster a run for their money, not to mention cable companies and DirecTV.
Netflix did announce a new integration to go along with Facebook’s new Open Graph. CEO Reed Hastings talked about it at f8 – specifically about how much better it was to get advice on what to watch from friends than from the Netflix algorithm.
“Facebook has always made it easy to discover great things through your friends,” said Netflix’s Tom Willerer. “We want to make streaming from Netflix a more social experience and through the new optional Facebook connection, Netflix makes it possible for you to connect with your friends over TV series and movies online.”
“The Netflix/Facebook integration empowers you as a Netflix member to share what you watch from Netflix with your friends on Facebook and to discover what your friends are watching both on Facebook and within the Netflix user interface,” he added. “This makes it easier and more fun to find new television series and movies to watch.”
The new Netflix Facebook integration will be available for the month’s over, the company said. Of course, that doesn’t apply if you live in the United States – where Netflix has existed since its inception before finally going international about a year ago.
The company says a U.S. privacy law prohibits them from offering it here, but the company is calling upon customers to write to Congress about it so they can share movie suggestions from Netflix with their friends on Facebook.
I bet Netflix customers are champing at the bit to help.
Does Netflix have what it takes to maintain its leadership position in the movie space or do you see competitors swooping in and taking advantage of recent moves from the company? Let us know what you think in the comments.