If you're a Netflix subscriber, get ready to wait one month before
receiving new Warner Brothers releases. The country's largest mail-order
rental service has struck a deal with Warner, agreeing to impose a
28-day waiting period on new films. The movie producer
hopes the window will boost its DVD sales. What does Netflix get? Warner will charge Netflix less per DVD allowing the company to
purchase more new movies. Sweetening the deal, Warner will triple the number
of films Netflix can stream on the Internet. How do Netflix customers fare? While some say it's a major inconvenience, others think being
able to stream more films is a sufficient trade off:
- Netflix Has Betrayed Its Consumers, writes an irate MG Siegler at TechCrunch: "I understand why they did it from a business perspective, but I cannot believe they would do this to their customers. With almost every product, there's a golden rule: You don't take away features. But that's exactly what Netflix is doing here."
- This Won't Improve Warner's DVD Sales, writes Linda Holmes at NPR: "I can't personally imagine buying an entire DVD just because I otherwise have to wait 28 days to rent it. If I cared so much about it that I could not wait 28 days to rent it, I'd presumably have seen it in a theater, and if I saw it in a theater and still am anticipating it so much that I can't wait four weeks for my opportunity to see it again, I probably like it enough to buy it anyway, no?"
- On the Contrary, This Is Great for Consumers, writes Rafe Colburn at RC3: "Any deal that gets the studios more accustomed to streaming of their movies on demand moves us closer to [an ideal situation]... This deal is bad for people who want movies from Netflix as soon as they're released to DVD, but a good deal for pretty much everybody else. Even if you don't stream movies now, you probably will soon."
- In the Long Run, This Is Positive, writes Will Richmond at Video Nuze: "If Hollywood and Netflix can avoid disruption and instead preserve most of their economics by gracefully transitioning their businesses to digital delivery, consumers stand a better chance of continuing to receive the kind of premium-quality (i.e. expensive to produce) films they value. The demise of the newspaper industry is a cautionary example of what happens when disruption instead prevails and an industry's traditional economics are destroyed... By focusing on the long-term, as evidenced by its WB deal, Netflix is playing an important role in increasing the odds of a successful transition."