Rumors are flying around that the big guns in Hollywood have had enough of Netflix. Netflix has recently exploded in popularity, enjoying a 66 percent increase in subscribers over the last year. This is due, in large part, to the availability of the streaming service on just about any device you have. You can stream Netflix on your Xbox, internet enabled TV, Wii, even your iPod Touch to name a few. Netflix is everywhere, and that is why people are flocking to it. People are no longer satisfied with media on someone else’s time. We want movies and TV on demand, and we will find a way to make that happen now.
The reason the studios are getting concerned about Netflix now, and not back in 1997 when it started, is that it is starting to cut into their profits. As soon as a movie is available on Netflix streaming it loses value rapidly. Cable and other broadcasters won’t even consider a movie that is available on Netflix’s streaming service. They are also saying that it will discourage people from purchasing in-flight movies, since they can stream it to their device with Wi-Fi on the plane. There is also evidence that DVD sales have been declining due to the service. What really frightens Hollywood studios though is that Netflix may end up with too much power. When Netflix holds all of the cards, they can dictate the terms of release and distribution.
The rumor as to how Hollywood is going to handle this problem is that they will only make low value material available through the service. Netflix would no longer have the great blockbuster movies, or top of the line TV shows. The studios would make the content on Netflix so undesirable that everyone will discontinue their subscriptions. If there are no subscribers, the service will go away, right?
I say that it’s past time for action on Hollywood’s part. Now that we have this available to us, we aren’t going to stand for it to be taken away from us. People will find a way to make it happen again. Doesn’t anyone remember Napster? When the ability to download individual songs was taken away, technology found a way to make it happen. I think Hollywood just needs to find a way to work with Netflix to make sure all parties involved are happy with the arrangement, otherwise they might lose more than they gain.