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Netflix and Other Home-Video Vendors [was: DVD-by-Mail]


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Neftlix close to a streaming deal with Dreamworks Animation.

The story also mentions that Netflix might get access to HBO in 2013.

The way article is worded makes it sound like HBO is only involved to let Dreamworks off the hook earlier. I doubt HBO would abandon their cash-machine model for shows anytime soon.

Yeah, you're right. I was reading it wrong.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Analyst: DreamWorks Animation Losing 'Mojo' With Netflix Streaming Deal


NEW YORK - DreamWorks Animation's expected streaming video rights deal with Netflix is a sign that the studio is "losing its mojo," Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible said in an investor note Monday.
 
But the company's stock rose on Monday. . . .


"We believe DWA's position in the market is slipping as every major
studio is now doing animation, which allows HBO to now get animation from all its other major studios," Wible wrote. "If a deal is not priced right, it could also be seen as a major threat to DWA's DVD, pay TV and catalog sales, as we doubt Netflix would be willing to pay enough ($100 million to $200 million per year) to offset the cannibalization of these revenue streams. This would be a steep price for only two to three new films per year."
 


However, Wible also cautioned investors against interpreting a DWA deal as a major Netflix win against premium TV providers. Highlighting that the current HBO-DWA deal expires in 2014, he said: "Any earlier deal would clearly need HBO's consent, which it would obviously not provide unless there was a financial benefit."
 
He added: "Any early deal would beg the question of whether Netflix won a DWA deal or was the buyer of last resort." . . .

Hollywood Reporter, July 25

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Good article on Netflix streaming and Hulu plus in the NYT today. Had anyone else heard of InstantWatcher.com?

Yes. They have an app that's irreplacable.

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Besides Netflix's stocks being down (is the right term? I know nothing about stocks), I wondering if this will have that big of an impact. I realize that (possibly) some of Netflix's more popular recent titles are thanks to Starz, but I can't remember the last time I watched any Starz Play content. As I saw someone comment online, this just frees up some money for Netflix to use elsewhere.

Also, Starz is a stupid name.

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And now, finally, Blockbuster Canada has filed for bankruptcy protection.

And that's the end of it.

The friends I've kept in touch with via Facebook who still work at BB are crushed, of course, no thanks to the hope that the relative strength of the Canadian arm would help it pull through, but the speed in which things have gone downhill seems to have come as a surprise. And while dealing with the end of their jobs, they also get to go to work everyday looking forward to the insistent deal-hunters, some of whom were hitting stores right after the news broke a few evenings ago. It's so easy to forget the human side of liquidation sales.

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The guy at the BB counter yesterday was throwing offers and bargains at me with sad desperation. He wanted me to pay 8 dollars for the privilege of "renting" anything in his store free for the next three weeks. (If it's still there in three weeks I'll be amazed.) And he gave me a rent 1 get 1 free coupon (which didn't make much sense given his previous offer).

And he was selling new-release DVDs for $1.99 each. New-release blu-rays were 5 for $20, but no deal is good when you're broke as me.

I did feel sorry for him. He was the manager and the only one working in the store. I worked in a video store for about 8 months, and I remember how much I came to care for the place, for all of the good conversations I had with customers, many of whom would just walk in, ask me what to watch, and then take my recommendation. I did have to watch the Staff Recommendations shelf, as friends of mine would wander through the store and I'd later find my recommendations shelf stocked with pornos.

It was a wonderful time, even if I barely made any money.

I'm happy to report that the legendary Scarecrow Video in Seattle still seems to be going strong. That place is so big, they have a Criterion Collection shelf in their Used DVD & Blu-ray For Sale section. They even have an In Memoriam rack for three or four film talents who recently died, and the names they usually feature are unfamiliar names to me. If you ever get to Seattle, I hope you see that shop. I doubt it'll last forever.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This step seems so obvious now: the DVD branch is becoming its own thing entirely.

Some members will likely feel that we shouldn’t split the businesses, and that we shouldn’t rename our DVD by mail service. Our view is with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail. It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. Netflix will offer the best streaming service for TV shows and movies, hopefully on a global basis. The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.
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Link to the blog post where Netflix made its announcement. (Or should I say "where Netflix and Qwikster made their announcement"?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Qwikster sounds an awful lot like Quixtar, the Amway scam.

I thought the same thing, just with the words "online version" in place of "scam."*

EDIT: I'm wondering if all of this is a way for Netflix to let their DVD side of things die slowly — by giving it a stupid name and sending it off into a corner.

*FURTHER EDIT OFF TOPIC: And no, I'm not a huge Amway defender, but my parents have been low-level distributors for years, and have always provided a nice, un-pyramid-schemy alternative to how some folks do things.

Edited by Jason Panella
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Compared to the boilerplate, uber-generic correspondence that I get from Hulu re. my problems with their service (which have been mounting in recent weeks), the letter from Netflix was nice, but had a feeling of "too little, too late" in light of the huge exodus of customers they've experience in the last few weeks.

That being said, it doesn't seem to bode well for the DVD service. I still think that a lot of people identify Netflix with those red envelopes, and that's a huge amount of branding and marketing to overcome. I really hope Netflix/Qwikster continues to succeed, but between this announcement and the huge licensing hurdles that Netflix is beginning to face, I'm starting to worry.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.

Given that Criterion and Starz have both jumped ship in the last few months, and that their streaming rights re-negotiations are going to be a nightmare, I have a hard time believing this statement.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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opus wrote:

: . . . the letter from Netflix was nice, but had a feeling of "too little, too late" in light of the huge exodus of customers they've experience in the last few weeks.

Nice? Interesting. One of my Facebook friends linked to a story about this and wrote:

Netflix chief apologizes... and, by way of apology, announces changes that consumers will only hate even more. What he's basically apologizing for, then, is not having made people sign up for two separate services and pay two separate bills earlier. Wow.

I also like how he writes, "There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!)." The exclamation point, apparently, anticipating the consumer's relief at still not being offered a make-good discount on the combined services.

And David Poland sums up its bullet points thusly:

• We should have explained more clearly why we were making changes that some of you felt were the equivalent of a friend assaulting you.

• Oh… we were right to “assault you,” as you would put it. We should have warned your better about it coming.

• Since you’re already upset and leaving us in big numbers, we might as well tell you now… not that it matters… because the first punch wasn’t really a punch… but just in case this softens the blow… we LOVE the DVD business, but it’s unsustainable, so we’re spinning it off, giving it a new name, and separating the two parts of the company so they will no longer be fully integrated for maximum ease of use.

* But, hey, pal, we’re not charging you more for our choice to separate the companies. Aren’t you lucky?

• The envelope will still be red. Isn’t that GREAT?!?!

This is just so tone deaf… which is not the norm for Hastings. It’s like they are still trying to be your pal, Sheriff Andy, even though Andy and Barney just went and opened a strip club in Mayberry and turned out Thelma Lou and set up Aunt Bea as the madame of the whore house. “Aw, shucks, that’s good sex… and Opie has your credit card on file!”

Wouldn’t an honest explanation make more sense for Netflix? Do they assume their members are stupid just because Wall Street and media have been so easily suckered? . . .

I see this as a much bigger mistake, in terms of perception, than the first change to pricing. Maybe Wall Street will like it and feel Netflix is being proactive about getting the DVD drain off of their books. But I don’t really see why Wall Street would be bullish on The New Netflix. It’s a new business and they are already getting into content cost problems that are not minor. They are lowering their game to Hulu’s, getting smaller, not bigger. DVD was the one real differentiator, other than being first in the marketplace. Now it’s not only diminished… it’s all but spun off completely… all but gone.

I’m not surprised by the move, on a business level, at all. This is about the survival of Netflix… about avoiding being the next Blockbuster. But in the game of perception, I am kinda shocked. After years of explaining Netflix spin and being told that Netflix’s public position is reality, the one thing I don’t expect from the company – which I still use and like – is self-inflicted wounds, one after the other.

None of this matters to me much, of course, because Netflix never offered DVDs in Canada in the first place. But I must say I am mildly bugged by how frequently movies and shows that my family and I came to know and love via Netflix Canada (which is only one year old) have already evaporated into thin air.

People keep saying that streaming is "the future", but I really, really hope not.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Yeah, the backlash from this seems to be huge if my Twitter and Facebook streams are any indication of general consensus. This bums me out because I've always been a big Netflix proponent. Now I'm getting the feeling with them I did when I was working at Movie Gallery back in '05: it looks like the beginning of the end.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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opus wrote:

: . . . the letter from Netflix was nice, but had a feeling of "too little, too late" in light of the huge exodus of customers they've experience in the last few weeks.

Nice, I said, when "compared to the boilerplate, uber-generic correspondence that I get from Hulu". But that might just be my frustration with Hulu, which has been growing quite a bit.

Some good points to remember here: "10 things to remember about Netflix while scratching your head about Qwikster"

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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Seems like they're trying to kill off the DVD business as fast they can. Someday the streaming library may catch up, but until then it is an end of an era for film buffs. We've had access to what may be one of the biggest video libraries in the world, and they're choosing to shrink it down to a fraction of that.

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opus wrote:

: Nice, I said, when "compared to the boilerplate, uber-generic correspondence that I get from Hulu".

Fair point. As a Canadian, Hulu isn't even on my radar. Nor was Netflix, until they introduced streaming here a year ago.

: Some good points to remember here: "10 things to remember about Netflix while scratching your head about Qwikster"

Point #3 had actually occurred to me before I read that piece. In addition to Canada, Netflix has also launched in Latin America, I believe -- and I doubt they ever had a DVD-by-mail business there, either. So the company's global brand really WILL be all about the streaming now. It is only Americans who are being inconvenienced by all this other business, because it is only Americans who have ever rented DVDs by mail through Netflix. And it isn't all about them any more.

It's kinda sorta like how 3D is still enormously popular overseas, but we keep seeing articles on "the death of 3D" simply because American audiences have soured on it lately.

The question is, Is Netflix handling this transition in a way that will actually HURT their brand globally?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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