Netflix Lunacy Explained

History of Netflix in a nutshell:

  1. DVD By Mail
  2. DVD By Mail with Streaming Added
  3. Streaming with DVD By Mail Added
  4. Streaming and DVD by mail separated

This shows how Netflix completely changed their business model from being a DVD by mail company to a streaming company. Step 3 to Step 4 happened so quickly that Netflix pissed off a lot of its customers and investors and wiped out more than half the value of the company.

Here is my take on their logic. Netflix wants to be a streaming company because streaming is the future. But at this time nobody wants to give them content and those who would give them content want to get paid by number of subscribers.

Netflix: We want your streaming content
Content Provider: How many subscribers you got?
Netflix: 25 million
Content Provider: We want $x/subscriber
Netflix: But a lot of our subscribers don’t stream
Content Provider: But they can
Netflix: But they don’t
Content Provider: Not my problem

At this point a bulb goes off in CEOs head. Ooh what if I could cut that number in half? ¬†What if I can get the non-streaming folk out of the equation? Let’s split the business completely.

Some Customers: We like to do both and you’ve screwed us
Netflix: BooHoo
Customers: Your streaming selection sucks and your DVD by mail is worse than blockbuster and I can also go to redbox. Bye Bye Netflix
Netflix: We’re sorry (read – we’re really not).

A link to someone who explained the customer perspective better than I can

My Take: Netflix had something nobody else had – streaming and DVD by mail and both combined at a reasonable price. Now Netflix will compete with Blockbuster (aka Dish) on the DVD by mail front and Blockbuster doesn’t have a stupid 28 day delay on new releases yet and does not charge extra for Blu-ray either. It will compete with Amazon for subscription streaming and Amazon Prime also gets you free two day shipping on products fulfilled by Amazon. DISH plans to announce a new streaming service on Friday too. Then there are Redbox, iTunes and Amazon rentals. So instead of having no competitors, Netflix now is competing with everyone. And some of those have deeper pockets and more resources than Netflix does. At this point in time the only advantage Netflix has is universal device support but that is nothing a few dollars and a few software updates cannot fix. I wish them luck as I stick with my Blockbuster by mail plan and hold off on streaming. So far Blockbuster has grandfathered me in to my plan and rate even though it is no longer available to new customers. Maybe after Friday DISH will have what Netflix customers had – a discount on streaming and discs combined.

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