Monday, November 22, 2010

Netflix Pushes Streaming and Price Increase

Netflix based its business on DVD mailers. They saw an opportunity to better their competitor, Blockbuster, with no penalty fees, low costs, and quick response and built a leader position. As a result, they toppled their competition and gained a loyal customer base. But like any business story, the lead can quickly be lost if you don't adapt to a changing environment. In Netflix's case, they did.

The biggest change for them was embracing a different distribution platform. While the DVD was their business model, their willingness to move from it to streaming could also be viewed as hurting the core of what they built their business on. But change, while difficult can also lead to greater successes. And Netflix is succeeding.

"The company based in Los Gatos, Calif. previously announced that more of its members are watching more content streamed over the Internet than on DVDs. To deal with this shift, Netflix says it will spend more this quarter to license streaming content than to buy DVDs" And with this shift in expenditures comes a need to increase customer pricing, too. "Existing members will incur the price increases in January, while people who are new sign-ups will face the higher prices immediately. Netflix has more than 16 million members in the U.S. and Canada and predicted in October that it would gain another 2.1 million to 2.9 million customers by year's end. That means Netflix could enter 2011 with more than 19 million subscribers, doubling the service's size in two years."

As consumers become more streaming savvy, Netflix has maintained and expanded their leadership base. And they are raising prices at the same time. Certainly any price increase hurts the consumer, but when the choice for content is cable or Netflix, Netflix continues to look like good value. Netflix is positioning themselves as a real alternative in the entertainment industry. While Blockbuster was once their adversary, it seems now that Netflix is after bigger game, the cable industry. And cable, concerned about cord cutting, is watching just where their audience is heading.

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