#Netflix

Janko Roettgers:

The new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018 report shows that revenue from online video services is set to overtake box office revenue in 2018. The report actually predicts that box office sales are going to slightly grow this year to $11.4 billion, up from $10.8 billion in 2013, and after being more or less flat since 2009. PwC predicts that box office revenue will keep an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent in the coming years, which means that people will spend $12.5 billion on movie tickets in 2018.

But revenue from subscription video services like Netflix in particular is growing at a much faster rate, from $3.3 billion in 2013 to a projected $10 billion in 2018. Add transactional video services like iTunes and Google Play, where you pay to rent or buy a digital copy of a movie or TV show, and you arrive at a total of $14 billion in revenue in 2018.

This is nothing new — DVDs sales used to outpace box office sales as well. And this will undoubtedly lead Hollywood to pour more resources into supporting these newer services, which is good.

The difference here is that it’s hard to see a world where the box office regains the crown — as it did against DVDs way back when. Hollywood literally cannot raise ticket prices fast enough to offset the mediocre film lineups they continue to pump out.

If the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is approved, the combined company’s footprint will pass over 60 percent of U.S. broadband households, after the proposed divestiture, with most of those homes having Comcast as the only option for truly high-speed broadband. As DSL fades in favor of cable Internet, Comcast could control high-speed broadband to the majority of American homes. Comcast is already dominant enough to be able to capture unprecedented fees from transit providers and services such as Netflix. The combined company would possess even more anti- competitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers. For this reason, Netflix opposes this merger.
Netflix’s statement in their shareholder letter on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.

Dan Rayburn:

Today’s news is very simple to understand. Netflix decided it made sense to pay Comcast for every port they use to connect to Comcast’s network, like many other content owners and network providers have done. This is how the Internet works, and it’s not about providing better access for one content owner over another, it simply comes down to Netflix making a business decision that it makes sense for them to deliver their content directly to Comcast, instead of through a third party. Tied into Netflix’s decision is the fact that Comcast guarantees a certain level of quality to Netflix, via their SLA, which could be much better than Netflix was getting from a transit provider. While I don’t know the price Comcast is charging Netflix, I can guarantee you it’s at the fair market price for transit in the market today and Comcast is not overcharging Netflix like some have implied. Many are quick to want to argue that Netflix should not have to pay Comcast anything, but they are missing the point that Netflix is already paying someone who connects with Comcast. It’s not a new cost to them.

While this may be a tempest-in-a-teapot situation, I assume most people are freaking out here because of this news mixed with the proposed Time Warner Cable acquisition. And I’m fine with that because people should be freaking out about the latter, even if not the former.

cah

cah:

House of Cards Against Humanity

On Monday we quietly announced and sold out of a little pack of cards we made for Netflix to promote the new season of House of Cards, which comes out on February 14th.

This was a weird project, even by our standards. Here’s how it happened.

Basically this entire post is amazing. They’re essentially giving Netflix the finger, but pretending they’re saying “you’re number one!”

And they apparently got paid an (undisclosed) obscene amount of money to do this — which they then used to make a donation of “more than $49,999 and less than $50,001” (since legal will not allow them to state specific terms).

Also interesting: apparently both HBO and Microsoft have tried to work with the Cards Against Humanity crew in the past, but pissed them off so much that the guys quit each time. Fucking love these guys.

Joe Flint on the report that Netflix’s recent gains was because competitors like HBO and Showtime were on the decline:

“The research is simply incorrect. Both HBO and Cinemax services have shown significant domestic subscriber growth the past two years,” an HBO spokesman said. In 2012, HBO said it added 1.9 million subscribers and it expects a similar figure for 2013.

Okay, but Netflix added 2.3 million subscribers last quarter. HBO and Showtime may not be declining, but Netflix is a rocket ship compared to them when it comes to growth — and that has to be concerning to both of those companies.

And it’s why they’re going to have to go direct-to-consumer as well at some point. Probably sooner than they think.

Sam Schechner and Amol Sharma on Netflix’s international plans:

France could be a tricky market to crack. An official “chronology” of movie releases restricts services like Netflix from airing films until three years after they open nationally in theaters, making them less attractive.

In addition, video services in France are usually required to finance film production in the country. On Sunday, French culture minister Aurelie Filippetti told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche she would expect Netflix to follow French rules.

Three years?!

Content, Content, Content

Intel just sold its unreleased television service to Verizon. TiVo just shuttered its hardware business. Google TV flopped. Boxee sold out. Aereo keeps getting sued. Roku keeps trying new things. Netflix keeps spending wildly. Amazon more wildly still. And where on Earth is that Apple television?

Where’s the future of television we’ve been promised every year for the past decade? It always seems to be coming “next year”. And I have a hunch that 2014 may be no different.

Here’s the thing: there isn’t actually a technology problem in this space. That is, while the current solutions offered by the cable providers mainly suck, they suck because they can suck. Big Cable is holding all the cards. And they know it.

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theonion
theonion:

Netflix Instant Thinking About Adding Good Movie

"Ted Sandaros":

“We feel the addition of a popular, above-average, well-made film would provide a nice counterbalance to our existing library of poorly received sequels, totally unknown indie dramas from four or five years ago that you’ve never heard of, and horrendous direct-to-DVD horror features.” At press time, Netflix had reportedly abandoned the plan and added Something’s Gotta Give to its streaming library.

Perfect.

theonion:

Netflix Instant Thinking About Adding Good Movie

"Ted Sandaros":

“We feel the addition of a popular, above-average, well-made film would provide a nice counterbalance to our existing library of poorly received sequels, totally unknown indie dramas from four or five years ago that you’ve never heard of, and horrendous direct-to-DVD horror features.” At press time, Netflix had reportedly abandoned the plan and added Something’s Gotta Give to its streaming library.

Perfect.

Ben Fritz:

After years of trying to convince consumers to buy movies online, Hollywood found a solution in 2013: Make it the only option.

Sounds like the ploy worked — but:

Digital growth just barely made up for ongoing declines in sales and rentals of physical discs. The total U.S. home-entertainment market remains well below its peak of more than $22 billion 2004, a drop that has squeezed the profits of every studio and led to widespread cost cutting.

And buried at the end:

Also helping digital sales, executives said, have been price cuts that mean most releases are now offered for $15 to $20.

In other words, digital sales of films are doing better because Hollywood created new (false) release windows and slashed prices — but they’re still not doing anywhere near as well as the DVD heydays.

I would credit two other things as well. First, Netflix is becoming less and less about movies, so services that are actually about movies, like iTunes, are seeing better sales. Second, with services like iTunes in the Cloud, I no longer have to download and store several gigabytes of data when I buy a movie. Instead, I can just stream it when I want it. Yes, I still “own” it, but I store it elsewhere.

So when a rental costs $5 but will only be available in two weeks, and a purchase costs $15 available immediately, I’m now buying more films again — especially because I don’t have to worry about where to store them. And $15 is actually now about the price of a ticket for one to the movie theater.

Netflix, Hold The “Flix”

I’ve long had a love affair with Netflix. But perhaps more so than any other service, the relationship has changed over time. Not in a bad way, necessarily — it’s just different. And it’s different, because Netflix is different. It’s a service that keeps re-inventing itself.

That should be obvious to anyone paying attention. But it took this post by Felix Salmon to point out the obvious to me: in its transition to full-on streaming, Netflix is no longer about movies.

Said another way: Netflix has ramped up the “net” and wound down the “flix”.

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