Netflix to Allow Unlimited Video Downloads… Yawn

Netflix Opens Floodgates To Online Streaming | WebProNews News out today that Netflix is going to allow almost all of its customers unlimited access to their video on demand service.

Doug Caverly quotes Michael Liedtke as saying, “Letting subscribers stream as much as they want could erode Netflix’s profits because the Los Gatos-based company isn’t raising its monthly rates even though its expenses may rise if increased usage drives up the licensing fees owed to studios.”

I doubt it.

Why?

I’m sure that before making this decision that Netflix did a little internal analysis on their own. I can’t imagine that very many of their current subscribers are coming anywhere close to the existing limits on the video on demand service. The main problem is that the content on the video on demand service is pretty weak sauce. No new release videos. No The Departed or Crash or Walk The Line. No Sopranos or Lost or 24.

Sure, if you want to watch the complete Epic Series of Battlestar Galactica, or if you want to watch Ghostbusters or Tootsie then their video on demand service is ok. But I already get 20 hours per month of that crap and at best I’ll watch maybe one show a month.

It’s like if Sizzler said, instead of limiting you to 8 bowls of salad we’re now going “all you can eat.” Lots of sizzle, but in reality no one is going to eat more than 8 bowls of salad anyways.

Of course the fact that the video on demand service isn’t quite as easy for most people as a DVD will also keep it’s useage down. Most people don’t have a PC connected to their TV and so the only way to watch the videos is on your PC (yes I said PC, Netflix’s video on demand service doesn’t work on a Mac unless you are running Parallels) and only then with Internet Explorer.

Of course the other thing to keep in mind is that the more dead programming you watch from their on demand service, the less you are probably watching those red envelope DVDs that they have to pay real money for to send them to you in the mail.

So today’s unlimited push? Yawn. More marketing speak than anything. Yes, there will be that one individual who never leaves their home who watches 50 hours a month of dry dead 15 year old programming, just like there will be that one 600 pound guy at Sizzler who beats the house every time he goes to dinner, but for most of us, not really much here to write home about.

By the way, before you peg me as a Netflix hater, don’t. I *LOVE* the service. The postal DVD business if amazing and awesome. Every single DVD I’ve ever sent them was received the next day at their shipping facility and every single time I send them one a new DVD is shipped out the following day for arrival the day after. It’s like clockwork. Perfect fulfillment. And at least for the DVD by mail side of their business, they have some pretty amazing stuff. Last night I just started watching the series Entourage from the very beginning.

In fact, I like their DVD mail service so much that lately I’ve been thinking about canceling my DirecTV service and existing strictly on a diet of Netflix and OTA HDTV network TV content via my Media Center PC. I could save a lot of money that way, increase my Netflix plan from the current three discs at a time to four or five discs at a time and be better off I think. We’ll see.

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6 Comments

  1. Brent Evans says:

    Thomas,
    I agree with you about the unlimited video not making much of a difference for Netflix for now at least. It’s more of a way to advertise “unlimited” than anything else.

    Once Netflix begins running the service with hardware extenders though, look for Netflix to change their streaming movies inventory as well as pricing structure.

    Brent

  2. TranceMist says:

    I don’t get it. DVD in the mail? That takes D-A-Y-S… I used to use NetFlix years ago but gave it up when I realized I didn’t watch half the stuff I ordered, it just sat around.

    Recently, I linked Amazon Unbox with our TiVo and have been very happy with that. Usually within an hour the movie has been downloaded and ready to watch. That’s very quick. I can even browse while away from home and it’s ready when I get home.

    But more often I find what I want for free (i.e. BitTorrent) and either watch it on my laptop (i.e. traveling) or convert it via VisualHub and watch it from the TiVo.

  3. jimmy says:

    I agree. Lets see Netflix on my computer, Apple rentals on the AppleTV to my TV .. nuff said
    http://tinyurl.com/2gxtkw

    jimmy

  4. Anonymous says:

    I learn something each time I visit.
    Either photography or marketing, you are an inspiration..in both areas.
    Not that I have much need to ‘know’ marketing, but it’s an interesting take..
    Now, as far as, photography…well, that’s another story..
    Thanks Thomas, hope you reach your ‘goal’ and congrats on using your compulsiveness in a positive way.
    Fran.

  5. marquise de sade says:

    Entourage is a great series. We just bought the last two seasons on DVD and have the others on tivo. It really captures the insanity of LA and Jeremy Piven is sublime. You’ll enjoy it immensely but don’t let your kids in the room! I recommend Weeds as well. We pretty much only watch HBO/SHO and Anthony Bourdain!

  6. Mike says:

    I used to watch the streaming videos (it’s not really a download since it doesn’t stay on your computer), but when I switched over to Linux 100% that option disappeared. They only support Windows for the streaming videos.