Does anyone remember the early days of HBO and Showtime?
When cable start presenting the services; man everyone thought it was awesome, playing movies all the time with no commercials, no editing, and getting new movies every month— always getting like two to five movies a month, per channel… Back then it was pretty cool. But that was back in the early-80s…
Once the newness of movie services like HBO and Showtime wore off, other movie services started popping up, showing the same movies in the same reruns and then one day, almost out of the blue, HBO and Showtime started coming up with their own original content. They started making their own movies and their own miniseries.
The reason I’m mentioning this is because I’m a Netflix customer and over the last two months I noticed that I’m not really getting a lot of new releases, and I’m not getting a lot of new content that I’m finding interesting. My son loves the service because he can watch cartoons and kid shows on demand, but for something other than kid shows I’m not really finding a lot of stuff it’s interesting. I would’ve assumed that anything that I can get on a DVD from Netflix I could get through the streaming service; that’s wrong.
Apparently there’s problems with getting new releases through Netflix, because I see more new releases coming through RedBox than I have seen anything new coming through Netflix. It’s actually worth my time to get my car, drive down to a RedBox location, pay about a dollar and watch a new release.
In some of the more later news, I’ve seen articles where Verizon is starting to work with RedBox to establish a video streaming service. This will be just another competitor for Netflix, but I believe there eventually going to fall prey to the same problem that everyone else has, which is there’s no new content.
The real benefit to Netflix is being able to stream the movies through my PC, smart phone, Xbox and Wii; but again there’s not a lot of new content. I understand that Netflix has agreements with certain providers to get content, but whenever I get through a DVD through Netflix, I should be able to get through streaming… It’s a disappointing thought.
To counterbalance this problem, I think Netflix [and even Hulu] are starting to realize that it’s actually in their benefit to create original content; pain the upfront cost to create high-quality series of TV shows or movies and collect the benefits of creating original content. This is exactly what Showtime and HBO did… And in essence that’s what MTV did. All of these players are getting into the content creation and media distribution so that they don’t have to pay other institutions licensing fees.
Netflix was actually a really good service when it first came out, but the problem with Netflix has been its own success and that other services and companies want to copy Netflix business model and not have to pay Netflix at all for the distribution.
In a conversation with a friend of mine, is pretty much what you would consider a cord cutter when it comes to cable services. He no longer gets his entertainment through traditional cable services [or very little] he has a Microsoft Xbox and a Roku; all his entertainment is streamed directly to his home via services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube. If you look at this from the perspective that the services are channels, he’s got four channels of entertainment media coming to his home via the Internet and he gets all the entertainment he’d like, on his own terms.
Now if other companies take this into account, essentially channels like USA, TBS, Spike and other major companies could decide to create their own video-on-demand service that strictly Internet-based where customers could pay for their services and stream their services using devices like the Xbox or PC. The concept is not that far-fetched, and the position that Netflix holds right now I think is going to decrease because they can’t provide enough new content, content creators don’t want to pay Netflix for the licensing and on top of that Netflix has already set the standard, clearly showing, how to get the entertainment out to the customers; and the right cost.
So while I’m still a Netflix customer and I do enjoy watching a bunch of old movies, I think Netflix is going to find themselves in a unique position where they’re going to have to be the ones creating the content otherwise they’re not going to have any. And over the next couple of years I expect to see a lot of new video services migrating to the model of what Netflix is doing.
Larry Henry Jr.