As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Netflix. I have been with them for 5 years and have enjoyed their service and find their $9 a month package a real value. The $9 a month package provides one DVD at a time plus you can stream all the video content you want. But it was only a matter of time before a battle would brew between Netflix and ISPs such as Comcast and others. The ISPs see Netflix streaming as a real threat to their TV broadcasting business as they should. If people dump cable or satellite TV in favor of broadband streaming to their TV sets. the ISPs would take a major hit in revenue.
In one recent article it stated that:
How does Netflix get tangled in the businesses of the likes of AT&T and Comcast (and Comcast’s proposed merger with NBC Universal)? Online video is seen as a major threat to traditional cable and satellite television firms, many of which want the FCC to allow companies to pay extra for higher-speed “channels” in the broadband Internet pipe.
In the third quarter, Netflix saw a 52 percent gain in subscribers to 16.9 million. Revenue increased 31 percent to $553 million. But most interesting: 66 percent of subscribers watched more than 15 minutes of streaming video compared with 41 percent during the same period last year. The company predicted Wednesday that in the fourth quarter, a majority of Netflix subscribers would watch more content streamed from the Web on Netflix than on DVD.
“This growth is clearly driven by the strength of our streaming offering. In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail,” Reed Hastings (above), Netflix co-founder and chief executive, said in a release.
The company has already begun to wade into the debate over net neutrality at the FCC. Netflix lobbyists have visited the media bureau and other officials at the FCC at least three times in the last year and said in written comments that the FCC should not allow paid prioritization, or specialized services, that allow an Internet service provider to favor its own content or block out new competitors.
Analysts tout Netflix’s strides in forging partnerships with content companies and device makers, making it one of the most significant applications in Internet television. It has deals to distribute on Apple TV and Google TV. Netflix is already on the Wii game console and Blue-ray players.
So far content companies have been slow to distribute their shows and movies through online platforms like Netflix and many television shows are delayed by at least one day for online viewers.
It seems that the cable and satellite companies have been caught asleep at the switch. But it will be up to the FCC to decide exactly how companies like Netflix, Apple, Google, and others will be allowed to stream content to our homes. So yes, there is a battle brewing.
What do you think? Who is going to win the battle?
Will a streaming only package be a benefit to consumers? Would you subscribe to a streaming only package and give up DVDs being mailed to your home?
IMO I would go for a streaming only feature if it included the latest movies.