Thursday, October 27, 2011

Netflix or Blockbuster: Do Either Offer Total Access?

When it comes to online streaming of premium content, it appears that less is less instead of more.

Netflix stumbled badly, announcing this week that 800,000 subscribers left the service last quarter—over 200,000 more than the company had predicted as its "worst case" scenario. Part of the stumble was an assumption that customers would pay the same amount for online video access to a limited number of movies as they would for a much broader library of DVDs delivered by mail.

I covered this topic two days ago in an online article for, a newsletter and magazine for which I have freelanced for a number of years. After the article was published, a radio station in Seattle, KOMO, requested a phone interview which I did on the 26th.

In addition, the editor of, Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, was also asked to be part of a section on Netflix on PBS Newshour show this evening.

To say this topic is hot would be an understatement, and Eric did a good job bringing to light—in a public forum—what we've often said on the online premium content world is still nascent and needs to grow to match the expectation (or hype) that many in our industry have pushed when trying to make streaming inventories equal to offline availability.

There's a need for a consolidated approach to online video libraries, ideally through a broader offering of content by a single provider; in the meantime, I'll also cover another approach that indexes what's available on multiple sites. Look for that article in a few weeks.

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