Netflix streaming has been an amazing boon for independent studios and for dusty old studio catalogs and unwanted television shows, according to a new story from Hollywood Reporter. The problem is that everyone Netflix to take the next step, getting new theatrical releases onto the streaming service at something less than glacial speed, and scoring some big premium channel shows like HBO’s lineup. Huge content deals like Starz and Epyx have brought piles of new content to the service, but at a cost. Everyone else is eying the kinds of big bucks that those deals generated, and they know that when their own contracts come up for renewal, they’re going to have their hands out for their piece of the pie. The big question a lot of people are asking right now is how long they will continue to pay out without getting anything longterm in return.
One of the most interesting things about online streaming is that the biggest players in the game — aside from Hulu, which is owned by Disney, Fox, and (temporarily) NBC Universal — don’t actually own any content. Microsoft has been trying to purchase Universal for years to keep Xbox Live and Zune stocked, and Apple was sure that selling Pixar to Disney was their ticket to exclusive content (it didn’t work out). Unless you own content, your livelihood is at the mercy of others, and no one likes to be in that position
Everyone knows that physical rental’s days are almost done, and everyone in Hollywood knows that Netflix has got a scary amount of control over their collective future, steamrolling their way into something around 5% of American homes and spreading out internationally. $7.99 a month is insanely cheap for what the service provides. Bribes will likely have to be paid in the future to computer networks to carry their massive bandwidth (a violation of net neutrality for sure, but since when are regulations heavily enforced in a timely manner in this country?), and I doubt they have enough capital or as many lobbyists as the combined forces of Hollywood and Cable. Price hikes are inevitable, but hopefully along with it will come the kind of premium content everyone’s looking for.
Via: [Hollywood Reporter]