Netflix finally embraces...the Net
Netflix (NFLX) announced today that it's letting subscribers download movies off its website (for free!). The only thing surprising is how long it's taken the DVD rental service to offer some kind of answer to critics who have said for years that the Netflix business model is just a giant sitting duck, dependent entirely on the popularity of DVD technology and with no contingency plan for the day that will inevitably come when discs go the way of Betamax.
With this new stroke, Netflix can certainly be called forward-thinking, but CEO Reed Hastings is still biding his time here. The road of movie downloads has been well-paved, and not just by Amazon.com (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) with their services announced last year, but by other online rental businesses like Movielink and CinemaNow. Yet there's still a long way to go before mass adoption. Blame the movie studios for being so stingy with what movies they're allowing to be downloaded solely because the DVD business still remains way too lucrative to give up just now. Just look at Apple's paltry Disney and Paramount-only offerings.
By comparison, Netflix will offer about 1,000 downloadable movies, and it's to be lauded for the range of studios that have signed on. But the thing that's always been so appealing about Netflix (especially if one subscribes to the Chris Anderson theory of the LongTail) is that its catalog of 70,000 movies means that you can dream up any movie, no matter how obscure, and have it in your mailbox within 48 hours.
The studios may yet come around and offer that kind of comprehensive access in digital download form someday, but don't hold your breath. Netflix's grand experiment will cost the company $40 million this year, and if the company is serious about downloads, expect the licensing fees (those studios again!) to keep rising. Reed Hastings is up against a lot, but there's something sensible about letting subscribers try digital downloads on their own and free of charge for now. It just might whet their appetite for more.
I am a netflix customer and was excited about being able to download movies, so I logged into my account. Far from now, the message says that the service will be enabled by June! Why say they are doing it now if in fact it is by June??? Very Frustrating and misleading report!
If you bothered to read the story you would have seen that it said they rolling it out in a phased approach. WIth the rollout ot be complete by June.
I used to be an original subscriber when Netflix began to offer DVD's by mail delivery. I just re-subscribed and found the same situation mentioned by a previous writer relating to a developing web service that was mistaken for being effective immediately. It must have been that term in the advertiment conveying "instant gratifictaion" that is what motivated me to sign.
Even though that is in the works,and not here yet, It is not a problem.
I again, anticipate to be happily receiving DVD's in the mail until futher notice.
I read in an article that it was in fact availabe now, that there were already some movies availabel.
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