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Television Businesses Movies

Netflix Is Becoming Just Another TV Channel 294

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix revealed in a blog post that it will not renew its contract with Epix, meaning you won't be able to watch movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z through the service anymore. With the increase in cord-cutters and more original content, Netflix is positioning itself to be like any other TV channel (one that owns its own distribution model) and is betting that customers won't miss the Epix content. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says, "While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods."
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Netflix Is Becoming Just Another TV Channel

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  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:30PM (#50431305) Homepage Journal

    I want something that allows me to watch movies and/or episode-based content AS *I* want.

    Their offerings of content have continued to get slimmer in the recent couple of years. And I'm finding myself using them less and less.

    If Netflix stops delivering that content altogether, I stop subscribing.

    And, if we start seeing ADS attached to the content, I'm fucking outta there so fast the wind of my passing will bowl you over.

    • I want something that allows me to watch movies and/or episode-based content AS *I* want.

      Their offerings of content have continued to get slimmer in the recent couple of years. And I'm finding myself using them less and less.

      If Netflix stops delivering that content altogether, I stop subscribing.

      And, if we start seeing ADS attached to the content, I'm fucking outta there so fast the wind of my passing will bowl you over.

      That's precisely why I dropped Netflix 3 to 4 years ago. Around 2011 they had a falling out with movie studios. They we no longer offering many new movies for streaming and the only way you could get them was via DVD rental. Also, Redbox became popular around that time and filled that niche for me. Between that and Amazon streaming, I'm all set. And now HBO has a streaming service. Maybe that's one the reasons why Netflix is backing off of movies.

      The only thing now keeping me on cable is sports. I wi

    • by gmack ( 197796 )

      I want something that allows me to watch movies and/or episode-based content AS *I* want.

      I think that's actually the point here. They are dropping the content with the annoying (probably regional) license restrictions in favour of content they can release in more flexible ways.

  • Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:30PM (#50431317)

    "While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods."

    The reason we can be cord cutters is because we get netflix, so you're suggesting I go back to doing both? %#!# you. #@# you very much.

    • Re:Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phoenix Rising ( 28955 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:34PM (#50431369) Homepage

      This. I get Netflix so I can "rent" movies. While I've liked some of the Netflix original content, what I really want is a super video rental store.

    • by RLiegh ( 247921 )

      Cord-cutters are undesirable in the eyes of the entertainment industry, it was inevitable that the cord-cutting threat posed by netflix would be eventually be neutralized.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        I don't think that's going to stop people from cord-cutting though. I have probably 30 channels or subchannels with OTA DTV, including older TV shows and older movies. There's plenty to watch for free.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          I have probably 30 channels or subchannels with OTA DTV

          If you're using OTA DTV, how much does your monthly DVR subscription cost?

    • Re:Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:46PM (#50431503)
      Agreed. Like so many other lines of business there are two general strategies they could go for, wide or deep. In the case of media distribution you can try to have as much content as possible, "why subscribe to all those other channels/distributors when you can get it all here in this one spot?" Or they can try to have unique programming that is unavailable anywhere else. "If you want to watch this show you have to subscribe to us."

      Doing both can be difficult, both in terms of balance and expense, (but it is the way to go if you want to become a monopoly.) Unfortunately it seems like Netflix is trying to transition between the two, which is a tough sell to the people who originally bought into the service because of what they _used_ to be. They not only have to convince me to be interested in their new original content, they also have to convince me not to care too much about the old licensed content that they're losing.

      If any other service (Hulu being at the top of the list) were able to snag all the content that Netflix is dropping Netflix might be in some serious trouble. From what i understand though the reason Netflix is dropping so much content is that the owners have started realizing how much streaming rights are worth, so luckily for Netflix it seems unlikely that any single provider will be able to acquire the same range of content that Netflix used to have.
      • Re:Idiots. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:44PM (#50432041)

        Hulu will *never* be a contender for me, as they insist on shoving advertisements in my face even if I pay for a premium subscription. I've experienced TV programming on demand and without commercial interruptions. I can't go back.

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
          And Hulu will never make it with me because for some reason just because I don't live in the US they don't want to allow me the privilege of being one of their customers.
          • In fairness, I'd imagine it's probably not Hulu but the content providers that dictate that policy.

            • In fairness, I'd imagine it's probably not Hulu but the content providers that dictate that policy.

              Check this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] out. Look at the list of owners to the right. NBC-Universal, Fox, Disney. Why do you think they're so stuck on showing ads even on the pay service? It's because it's all they know.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Hulu will never be a contender because they are a content owner. Netflix is a service organization. The viewer is the customer. For Hulu, the content owners are the customers, the revenue stream is unrelated to their primary customers. Hulu will never be able to think in a way that will make them relevant.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      The reason we can be cord cutters is because we get netflix, so you're suggesting I go back to doing both? %#!# you. #@# you very much.

      Well, they said other subscription services, and it's been revealed that Hulu was the one who picked up those movies.

      You have to remember the video and movie industry looked at what happened to the music industry. They saw a tepid music industry make its first forays into digital distribution (via Apple and the iTunes music store), after resisting for so long.

      Then they saw t

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      It is not about going back to cable. It is about the balkinization of content. You will have to have 8 subscriptions at 7.99/month+ to get all the competition you want. There cannot be one or two clearinghouses for all content as each rights holder wants to be higher up in the food chain with their own control and higher margins.

      This is not real competition, this is an environment where the established players have written the rules and hold all the cards.

    • Meet the new boss . . .

  • Netflix is such a bargain that it just might replace my cable . Netflix has great programming and costs me about 3% of what I pay Comcast every month.
    • As the article states, Netflix sees this as a bug, and is trying very hard to "fix" it.

    • Yea, well with Verizon the differential between a bare internet connection to stream Netflix over and a full up cable service using a cable card network tuner is about $40/month. Netflix is nearly 1/3rd of that. Good luck saving money, the cable company is gona get their cut, even if you cut the cord.

  • as the incandescent-fluorescent-CFL-LED progressed, cable-sat-stream will evolve.
  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:36PM (#50431411)
    Looks like the netflix dvd model is coming around to be in vogue again.
    • Looks like the netflix dvd model is coming around to be in vogue again.

      I got to admit that I've been tempted to do the same. With Amazon having nearly *anything* I may want to stream NOW, and Netflix DVD being about 2 days away for me, it's starting to make sense again.

    • Netflix should make use of dormant DVDs. Keep track of how many DVDs are in the warehouse and allow those to be "rented" via streaming. No more content deals. Just buy the movie, keep track who's streaming it at any given time (being very careful to not go over), and profit. I'm sure it will piss off Hollywood, but at this point I think the tech industry could beat Hollywood in a large court case like this. No more turnaround time. DVDs rented for literally 90 minutes.
  • by McGregorMortis ( 536146 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:41PM (#50431451)

    What people want from a streaming service is every movie, every TV episode, and every piece of music ever made at any any point in history, anywhere in the world, at a modest fee.

    Netflix certainly wasn't that, but it was trying to be. If it's going to stop even trying, then they're just driving people back to BitTorrent. Because that's what BitTorrent is, and it's free.

    Until people are given what they want at a fair price, they will continue to find it elsewhere.

    • Bittorrent has been slimming down its selection too. Used to be, people would seed something forever. Fewer people now take that risk. It's mostly only good for newer titles now.

    • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:15PM (#50431793)
      Never going to happen, NEVER. No matter how many different services you sign up for. Seriously there is way too much stuff to do what you want and there are films which will never, ever see the light of internet streaming. For instance "Song of the South" which is owned by Disney will never be shown in public again for PC reasons, not to mention all the horrible "B and C" movies which would never deserve the disk space needed. (Who's going to watch "Howard the Duck" more than once? Most will quit that movie before the first reel change.) There is just way too much material which the license holder won't let go of and a whole host of stuff nobody wants to watch, even for free.
    • Most folks just binge watch TV episodes on netflix. The movies are added value, but there's no way they could be worth the cost. At that point you just get the DVD. If it's worth enough to cancel over it's worth waiting a few days for the dvd to arrive...
    • Because that's what BitTorrent is, and it's free.

      I call bullshit. I regularly try to get older content on bit torrent, I have all but given up for a lot of stuff. While finding the torrent is easy, it is pot luck as to whether there are any seeders, the older the content the less likely to be a seeder. basically I find it at best a 50-50 chance of finding it, usually much lower for anything not mainstream.

  • by thedarb ( 181754 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @04:44PM (#50431475) Homepage

    Taking away popular movie titles is only going to give your competitors an in. I didn't have to go see films at the theatre if I didn't want. It would end up on Netflix. I didn't need Comcast, it would end up Netflix.

    Simply put, if things stop coming to Netflix, so will the viewers. We aren't locked in to 2 year contracts, so we can come and go as we please. Maybe, Netflix, you should continue to court us.

    • Yep, if I can't watch World War Z and The Hunger Games on repeat for all time then I am not going to be a paying customer...

    • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:14PM (#50431789)

      Simply put, if things stop coming to Netflix, so will the viewers. We aren't locked in to 2 year contracts, so we can come and go as we please. Maybe, Netflix, you should continue to court us.

      You sound like believe this is something Netflix is doing on purpose. Given the business environment they're operating in and how content licensing works, it's just as likely that someone in the industry is jerking them around.

      • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @09:24PM (#50433409)

        Given the business environment they're operating in and how content licensing works, it's just as likely that someone in the industry is jerking them around.

        And that's exactly the case. Netflix's streaming service started out as a last-run content distributor. They could get cheap access to lots of TV shows because the content had already been sold on DVD, sold to first-run syndication, sold to later run syndication (3am on TBS), etc. So selling that content to Netflix for cheap was the final way - the last way - to make money off of it.

        However any time you're selling content on a last-run basis, you're also expecting the service provider to either rake in little in the way of income, or at least not overtake higher tier services. Instead what happened was cord cutting, with viewers no long subscribing to cable services, ordering PPV, buying DVDs, etc. This is a great deal for viewers - lots of content for cheap - but it's a poor deal for content owners. The fact that this happened indicated that they undervalued the content they sold Netflix, and that in turn was because they didn't see the value in streaming.

        So whether Netflix likes it or not, they're going to be treated as a high tier syndicator due to the amount of revenue they bring in and the number of viewers. And Netflix doesn't charge enough or pay content owners enough to provide all that content that they got for cheap early-on. They either need to pay more or drop the content, so dropping the content they are. That leaves Netflix with little choice but to go the Turner/HBO model and provide original content to hook viewers, along with a mix of syndicated content to fill out their catalog.

        As for content owners, they're going to turn to other content distributors who will pay more for it. Hulu, cable companies, etc until revenue sources at each tier match what providers think they can get. Remember, a lot of this stemmed from undervaluing their content in the first place by virtue of underestimating how many people would go to Netflix. They have a general idea of how much their content is worth, via revenue from the pre-Netflix days, so it's only a matter of finding the right mix of distributors to sell to in order to find the right mix of services and customers. There are people out there who will pay more, especially if you balkanize everything so that the viewer pays a larger number of smaller bills (to avoid sticker shock).

        • There seems to be a big disconnect between what the studios think their content is worth and what people are willing to pay for that content. Last time Netflix increased their streaming price by un-bundling it from the mailed to your house system they saw a huge drop in their subscribers base. If studios were willing to stream their content on theatrical-release date than I would be willing to pay $100 a month but for years old regurgitated content I am not paying much more than $8.
        • This was a great model too. I got to see a lot of shows I never saw the first time around, because I don't want to hop into the middle of a series (if I don't see episode one of a plot based series, I won't watch any of the rest). Plus ability to watch old episode of current shows is very handy as the cable channels have little interest in doing this. Lots of cable shows don't end up in syndication either.

      • by J-1000 ( 869558 )
        Exactly. Not only are existing competitors like Amazon catching up, everybody and their dog seems to be starting their own streaming service. That means more competition for content licenses, and less buying power for Netflix. This is also why every streaming service, including Netflix, is trying to build up original content libraries. They may not want to be just another streaming channel, but I think they realize there's no other choice. So they'll try to be the best at that.
    • It's possibly a negotiation strategy. Epix loses in this case, because they'll get fewer views, and less money. Netflix loses too, but they're hoping that next time they'll be able to negotiate a better deal.
  • I'll paraphrase, but here's basically what they said:

    "Yes, we're losing MGM's movies - but soon we're going to give you a new Bill Murray Christmas movie! We think everyone can see how much better that is."

    • I'll paraphrase, but here's basically what they said:

      "Yes, we're losing MGM's movies - but soon we're going to give you a new Bill Murray Christmas movie! We think everyone can see how much better that is."

      What about Bob?

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:01PM (#50431665)

    They first marginalized the DVD rental service and now are doing the same with movie streaming. While I watched some of Netflix originals, HBO Now has even more and better original series. The value of Netflix subscription for me is access to movies and shows from major studios. Guess I should look into Amazon Prime instead. Not interested in paying for Hulu and still watching ads.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      If my son wasn't so enthralled with Netflix for TV series I would have cancelled it when I realized HBO Now included movies, too. Good movies for the most part, too, not just 3 movies and a bunch of crap shot on an iPhone by the college kids down the block.

      I can get most of that crap from Amazon Instant which is part of Prime anyway and prime is worth it for the shopping alone.

  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grilled-cheese ( 889107 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:13PM (#50431783)
    Today's media consumer wants what it wants, when it wants it, right then. This is opposite traditional cable company methodologies. It's why customer's are cutting the cord. To that end, the first service to offer the best selection will win (pricing models aside). If it takes multiple overlapping subscriptions to get the selection, customers will be forced to pick and choose or to go back to pirating. The stuff frequently pirated are the things that customers can't afford (multiple services), can't find (selection problems), or are going to have going 24/7 (kids shows and bandwidth caps). I don't blame netflix entirely though. It's a business decision to keep from raising rates. The real problem lies with the distribution points arguing unreasonable amounts of money for potentially exclusive contracts with providers like Netflix/Hulu/AmazonPrime/CrunchyRoll/etc.
  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:20PM (#50431861)

    Because that gives me access on Netflix to every movie ever made, plus a substantial number of TV series both domestic and foreign. Netflix seems to have invested heavily in the "everybody's gonna stream" meme, a dream which crashed into ISP user caps and Hollywood footdragging. That's why the streaming servers offer a stunted collection of movies that "expire" after a year or so. So now that Netflix is set up for large-scale streaming, developing its own content to deliver is a logical next step.

    • by N7DR ( 536428 )

      Because that gives me access on Netflix to every movie ever made

      Huh? On my "saved" queue I have dozens of movies that Netflix marks "unavailable" and can't actually ship, but using some warped logic the company seems to think that they still carry them. And there are dozens more that I want to put on my queue that Netflix doesn't even pretend to carry. And all of these DVDs are available for purchase on Amazon (and, I suppose, available via torrents).

      With each of their mis-steps I get closer and closer to dumping Netflix and going back to buying movies.

      The Netflix manag

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It is because the studios asked them for a monetary number well outside Netflix's ability to pay and still stay afloat. The studios are doing it on purpose to tank Netflix because they don't like their business model and would prefer you go buy the DVD. And, because they feel they deserve the extra money. Netflix has been a real threat to them, because it has always provided viewers the ability to watch as much as they want for a reasonable fee. I don't envy them. Producers of entertainment are so toxic wit

        • The availability of a huge range of movies for a $9/month DVD subscription is what keeps consumers from torrenting. If they take that away, we'll just go back to our old torrenting ways.

          • by tsotha ( 720379 )

            Which is why the studios are spreading money around in Washington. If they get the laws they want torrenting will be so dangerous it won't be worth doing. They're playing the long game.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday August 31, 2015 @05:21PM (#50431863) Homepage Journal

    Look at the new and leaving content [cnet.com] for this month - it's almost all junk (with slightly more quality stuff leaving than coming).

    Netflix is still showing me "New Episodes" for stuff I watched 6 months ago. A friend of mine said recently, "I spend more time looking for something to watch on Netflix than I do watching Netflix".

    I just started requesting DVD's again from Netflix (send back the first one in two years yesterday) and my kids watch YouTube all the time anyway - I'm pretty sure there's no reason for me to keep the streaming service at this point. I wonder if I can cancel that separately. I still have 300 discs in my DVD queue and feel silly for trying to use the Internet instead of USPS for digital content.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      I spend more time looking for something to watch on Netflix than I do watching Netflix

      I dropped it when I came to that realization. Every few years I sign up again to watch the content they've accumulated in the intervening time, after which I drop it again.

  • What kind of idiots do they have running things over there?
    • What kind of idiots do they have running things over there?

      The kind that have to answer to the idiots (that are wising up) at the movie studios and other content providers that they have to pay contracts to in order for you to view the content on Netflix. Don't kill the messenger. Get angry with the greedy studio bastards that are setting outrageous content prices for streaming rights.

      • Get angry with the greedy studio bastards that are setting outrageous content prices for streaming rights.

        How can Americans lawfully act on disapproval of Hollywood policies when Hollywood is also telling Americans whom to vote for through NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and CNN? These major TV news outlets share a parent with Universal, Disney, Paramount, Last Century Fox, and Warner Bros. respectively.

  • and Netflix was okay for a little while but eventually i lost interest because of the selections seems to never rotate to different movies, sure they add a few new ones but not a lot and after a while it got to be like HBO, just another premium channel with the same old crap after a while, so i cancelled it and just threw the roku hardware in a old shoe box saving it for my grand yard sale when i finally decide to move to a smaller house
  • Quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neminem ( 561346 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .menimen.> on Monday August 31, 2015 @06:18PM (#50432293) Homepage

    "...won't be able to watch movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z"... "betting that customers won't miss the Epix content. "

    Yeah, not with examples like those I won't...

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Those were well-known examples.

      Here's the full list of movies that vanished from Netflix' stock:

      http://www.epixhd.com/all-movi... [epixhd.com]

      At a glance there are a LOT of titles I don't recognize, with covers that suggest they're from the 70s or 80s. I spot a recent animated movie (Alpha and Omega), a geek classic at least for a popular quote (Apocalypse Now), and a definite geek classic (A Conversation With Leonard Nimoy) - and that's just in the A section.

      Please don't think Epix ONLY has control of Hunger Games and

    • "...won't be able to watch movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z"... "betting that customers won't miss the Epix content. "

      Yeah, not with examples like those I won't...

      True that. But, people can still get the discs for those movies from Netflix. They just don't have the streaming rights anymore.

  • by pellik ( 193063 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @06:59PM (#50432569)
    When Netflix gave up it's deal with starz people thought that it was the end. Now Netflix is giving up Epix and people think it's the end again. Netflix still has a lot of content, and will possibly even sign a new content deal. They've long said they intend to rotate through content providers.
  • Good, WWZ was one of the most disappointing book-to-screen adaptations I've ever seen. I've seen over 200 zombie movies, and if I hadn't read the book first I wouldn't have cared BUT...yeah.
  • by Frigga's Ring ( 1044024 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @07:36AM (#50435111)
    Did people read a different article than I did? The linked article says the following:

    "We also have some great family films coming your way, including Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2, and Home through arrangements with Sony Pictures Animation, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. Starting next year, we will be the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest theatrical movies from the The Walt Disney Company, including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel movies. The majority of these films will arrive on Netflix faster than traditional arrangements had previously allowed."

    I lose movies like World War Z and Transformers and gain access to the libraries of Disney and Sony? So long, Epix.

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