Netflix, Blockbuster, and Amazon: Drama and Suspense in their Movie Business
Netflix has had lots of news coverage lately: and none of it was good news for its subscribers. First, they raised their prices on monthly service in an effort to get people to start streaming more and ordering DVDs in the mail less. Next, they couldn’t cut a deal with Starz for streaming movies from Disney and Sony; so films from those studios won’t be available for streaming from Netflix after February. Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Netflix announced it would spin off its DVD by mail business into a new subsidiary called “Qwickster.” “Netflix” will be for streaming movies; and “Qwickster” will handle the DVD by mail business.
And subscribers – they get to maintain two accounts on two websites; updating two sets of personal & credit card information, two movie lists, and probably suffering more than two pangs of aggravation at the changes.
Well, we’re capitalists: so a problem for one is an opportunity for another.
It was announced in the September 23rd Los Angeles Times (“Dish and Blockbuster to offer new service to challenge Netflix”) that “Blockbuster” (yes – they’re still around) will begin a streaming and DVD delivery service. Just to catch-up a little bit: Blockbuster declared bankruptcy, but was purchased by Dish Network. Dish is now trying to capitalize on the missteps by Netflix to launch a competing subscription service through Blockbuster. The service gives subscribers movies by streaming and DVD by mail for $39.99; but you have to be a Dish Network subscriber. That will certainly limit the people to cross over from Netflix to Blockbuster – but it’s a start.
Also in the September 27th Los Angeles Times (“Rivals Amazon.com and Netflix add studio partners”) was the story of how Amazon has struck a deal to stream films & TV shows from 20th Century Fox. Amazon has a couple options for those wanting to use its streaming service. You can join their subscription service, “Amazon Prime,” for $79 a year; or you can pay by the individual feature in the $3.99 range. Amazon is actually shooting at two different targets this week. It’s not only working on competing with Netflix and Redbox for movie rental business; but it’s also gunning for Apple by launching it’s own tablet computer. That will be something to watch, so “stay tuned” for more on that front.Continued on the next page