With the exception of when they raise prices, everybody seems to have a major love of Netflix, myself included. Unfortunately, I think that love affair is about to come to an end. It was announced today that Netflix has decided to let the greedy people over at Warner Bros. keep Netflix from renting new DVD or Blu-ray releases until 28 days after their release. So much for Netflix’s willingness to stand up to the buffoons at the movie studios.
In exchange for this stupidity, Warner Bros. will open up more of its catalog of movies to Netflix for streaming. I don’t suppose that is the worst trade-off in the world but it certainly hurts many Netflix customers who use the service to check out new movies as they come out. For the customers that don’t do any streaming from Netflix, there is no upside to this deal. If these deals catch on, not only will it hurt Netflix subscribers, but Netflix itself. Currently, 30% of Netflix’s rental business is new releases, something that this will really cut into. Hopefully they won’t bend over to any other studios if they want to keep that number from going down. While this appears to be a big win for Warner Bros, I believe it will come back to bite them.
Warner Bros. stands to make a lot of money off of this deal. A large chunk of the money made from a movie’s DVD/Blu-ray sales are made in the first month of release and by taking out a large chunk of the rental competition in the first month, Warner Bros. expects sales to increase considerably. I, on the other hand, am not so sure of this. As a usually happy Netflix customer (except when they increase Blu-ray rental fees), I almost never buy DVD or Blu-ray movies anymore. If there is a great sale on Amazon, then I will buy something but otherwise, if I can’t find it on Netflix, I can find it on <insert bittorrent site here>.
This is exactly what many other people are going to be doing as well. If they can’t get a movie from Netflix, they won’t want to waste their gas going to their local big box store in hopes that they will have the new movie that they want to watch in stock. Owning the movie is nice, but unless you know you want to watch it all the time, it makes no sense to buy it when you are already paying for a Netflix subscription. Paying $20 for a movie when you should be able to rent or stream it is insane. This is the point where most people will have the thought that going to a bittorrent site and getting the movie the night you want to watch it for free is a lot easier, cheaper and more hassle free than going to buy the movie at the store. The fact that Warner Bros. doesn’t understand this just shows what kind of idiots they have running the company.
In this decade, content producers need to focus on putting their content everywhere and make the money they can instead of putting it only in a few places because all that is going to do is drive more people to piracy.
Netflix, stand up for your customers, not the fools at the movie studios!