The Future of Netflix is All About Streaming
Friday, February 20, 2009 - by Daniel A. Begun
A great debate is raging as to what the future of movie distribution will look like. On one side of the debate are those who claim that physical discs like DVDs, Blu-ray, and whatever format will eventually supplant Blu-ray, will always deliver a superior viewing experience than anything that will be available via streaming or on-demand content. Pundits on the other side of the debate--and this is the side that appears to gaining the most momentum--say that as broadband's footprint continues to expand, throughput speeds continue to increase, advances continue to improve in compression technologies, and more consumer electronics devices gain access to streaming content, the inevitable future of video distribution will increasingly depend on online access.
In an interview with Bloomberg.com, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, is siding firmly with the latter camp and it would even appear that Netflix is gearing up to move all of its eggs from the mail-distribution basket to the online streaming basket. Hastings indicated that perhaps as soon as later this year or sometime in 2010, Netflix might start offering online-streaming-only subscription plans (beyond just its current Starz plan--see below). The Bloomberg report states:
"The company's success hinges on its ability to transition to online video from DVDs, Hastings said yesterday in an interview in San Francisco. Netflix faces a challenge similar to the one AOL had as it lost subscribers who shifted from Internet service via a telephone connection to high-speed access, he said."