Content producer. Qwikster. New Pricing Plan. Senate Democrats don’t like the idea of a Netflix Facebook app. Streaming video service Netflix recently appealed to a panel of U.S. senators to update an old law that forbids the company from launching a Facebook application within the country.
The antiquated law, the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), prohibits companies like Netflix from sharing a person’s movie-rental history. The law was passed in 1988 after Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental records were published in a news publication. At the time, the law seemed to make sense because a person’s video rental history does have the potential to affect public opinion about that person — especially when running for public office or being nominated for a public position.
Technology has moved on since 1988, however, and people are more willing to share information about what they’re watching now. In fact, Netflix subscribers in Canada and Latin America already have access to the Facebook integration, so their friends can see what they’re watching. Sen. Here's Why We Let Starz Walk Away... AP Images We asked Netflix CEO Reed Hastings for his take on Starz walking away from the contract negotiations.
Here's what he said: Starz has been a great content partner for many years and we are thankful for their support. While we regret their decision to let our agreement lapse next February, we are grateful to Chris and his team for the early notice of their decision, which will give us time to license other content before Starz expires. While Starz was a huge part of viewing on Netflix several years ago because it was some of the only mainstream content we offered, over the years we spent more and more licensing great TV shows from all four broadcast networks and many cable networks, and we have licensed 1st run movies from Relativity, MGM, Paramount, Lionsgate and others.
Starz wanted higher consumer prices. Starz didn't just want Netflix to pay more money for its content.
It wanted Netflix consumers to pay more too. Netflix offered Starz more than $300 million per year to renew their agreement, but the pay cable channel was insistent on so-called tiered pricing, according to people close to the negotiations but not authorized to speak on the record. Tiered pricing would require Netflix subscribers who want movies and television shows from Starz and other premium providers to pay more than the standard $8 per month. That demand was apparently a key sticking point in talks that fell apart Thursday, meaning the two companies' deal, which began in 2008, will expire at the end of February.
Netflix looks to kids to make its UI more fun. Don’t be surprised if the Netflix website looks a little more like your five-year-old’s favorite toy soon.
Netflix is actively looking for a Senior User Experience Designer for Kids & Family, according to a job opening posted on its site. Potential candidates are supposed to be able to “envision kids’ interfaces that are friendlier, simpler (and) more fun” as well as be “passionate about creating fun, easy-to-understand interfaces that communicate with kids on their level.” Does that mean Netflix will launch a separate website just for kids? Probably not. Netflix has in the past experimented with delivering different UIs to different devices, but never specifically targeted any slice of its audience with a separate site. Netflix has added a lot of content specifically targeted towards the needs of kids and their parents in recent months, with full seasons of shows like Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly being added to the company’s streaming library.
Netflix Leads Apple, Amazon For Paid Web Video. If you’re watching video on the Internet, the odds are very, very good that you’re doing it on YouTube.
And failing that, on Facebook. But if you’re paying to watch video on the Web, then the odds change: You’re very, very likely to be watching Netflix. This news comes to us from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney, who polled Web users last week and came up with this breakdown of Web video usage. It’s not a shocking result, but it is instructive to see it spelled out. Netflix Users Are Slashing Their Cable Bills. It turns out Netflix is cutting into the revenues of the cable business after all, despite assurances from both Netflix and cable providers to the contrary.
A survey released by The Diffusion Group found that roughly one-third of Netflix users plans to slash part of their cable, satellite or telcoTV bills in the next six months — more than double the number that planned to a year ago. Half of those who say they are likely to downgrade their service plans cite cost as the primary reason. One-third point to growing online video use, naming Netflix as the main provider. “Despite its rhetorical positioning, both Netflix and PayTV operators have long been aware that there will come a point at which its services are not only dilutive to regular TV viewing, but antithetical to PayTV subscription levels,” says Michael Greeson, TDG founding partner and director of research. “The question for realistic observers has been not if this will occur but when.
Netflix Now Officially Bigger Than Comcast. Netflix continued to post impressive quarterly financial numbers, ending the first quarter 2011 as the largest subscription video service in North America.
In the first quarter, Netflix added 3.6 million subscribers, ending the period with more than 23.6 million subscribers in total. That was up 69 percent from the 14 million subscribers it had a year ago. To put that in context: Comcast ended 2010 with 22.8 million pay TV subscribers. While it’s always possible the cable company could report subscriber additions in the first quarter, it’s unlikely to do so, given its declines over the last several quarters.
Most of Netflix’s customer additions came in the U.S., where it added 3.3 million new users to end at 22.8 million subscribers. Netflix Won’t Announce Its 3 Billionth DVD Shipment: “Focus Is Really On Streaming” Netflix just announced its first quarter 2011 earnings and they’re cause for optimism, with earnings at $1.11 a share on revenue of about $719 million, out-performing analysts expectations of $1.08 per share on $704 million in revenue.
The company doubled its profits, at $60.2 million versus $32.3 million at the same time last year. The company is hedging its future on its streaming subscription services, and called its DVD business a “fading differentiator” in its shareholder letter. “DVD was a Booster Rocket, but is not a Differentiator. We believe that DVD will be a fading differentiator given the explosive growth of streaming, and that in order to prosper in streaming we must concentrate on having the best possible streaming service.
As a result, we are beginning to treat them separately in many ways. Netflix Earnings Up 88% as Competitor Instant Movie Streaming Services Launch. Netflix criticizes new Internet billing by bits. Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 07/08/2011 Jul 08, 2011 04:35 PM EDT TheWashingtonPost Netflix said Friday that moves by Internet service providers to charge users by the amount of data they use could end up costing consumers more.
In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Netflix General Counsel David Hyman, wrote that new data tiers by ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon don’t reflect how much it costs to actually increase bandwidth on networks. We can grow the audience of Glee & Mad Men.