Sunday, October 16, 2016

One Of My Positions That People Have Mocked

Is that Netflix would have a big problem with the streaming market and they'd be better off focusing on, or at least continuing to focus on, their DVD library. Since then they've split the two systems annoyingly, have let their DVD library/service degrade considerably, and are increasingly one of many players in the competitive streaming market. They'd made some good shows - yay Netflix - but they're paying through the nose for streaming rights.
Netflix needs the money that increased scale would provide, in part, to pay top dollar for shows such as Arrested Development and Lost. In January, it told investors it owed $10.9bn in TV show licenses alone, with $4.7bn of that due this year. After that, almost the entire balance is due before the end of 2018.

Netflix will have to keep buying reruns at what will almost certainly be increasing rates if it wants to retain its users, and the companies selling those shows are now in a tight spot too – largely thanks to the ad-free Netflix model.

Streaming is great, but licenses are expensive, as is original program development. The first sale doctrine means they can buy one DVD and rent it out over and over again (until it's damaged or lost, anyway). The DVD business was the monopoly that gave them an edge in the streaming business. They gave up that edge, and are just going to be one of many players bidding for rights.

Streaming is great, but the streaming library increasingly sucks. It's just another cable channel. I'd gladly pay for 24 hour turnaround access to the world's greatest DVD library. Streaming will never be able to duplicate that library.