Netflix, HBO Do Battle
Netflix is having a bad week.
First, as AllThingsD reports, a new deal between Warner Bros. and Netflix -- along with Redbox and Blockbuster -- will double the time users must wait to rent movies after they’re put on sale in DVD form. “That means the services will now have to wait 56 days after the discs first go on sale to offer them to their customers, instead of 28 days.”
Then, according to CNet, HBO stopped providing DVDs of its shows to Netflix, due to mounting competition between the two. Though unlikely to disrupt rentals of HBO discs -- because, according CNet, Netflix can still acquire the DVDs from other sources -- the move suggests that tougher times lie ahead for streaming platforms.
More than any streaming partner, however, VentureBeat thinks that HBO is hurting itself. “While HBO’s cessation of its deal with Netflix is … a largely symbolic one, the symbol is that of a stodgy, dictatorial approach to media and an unwillingness to compromise, innovate and adapt,” it writes. “HBO sees Netflix as a competitor, but Netflix’s edge lies not in where it gets its DVDs, but how it allows consumers to access content.”
“Part of the bitterness between the two companies likely has to do witht [sic] he fact that the corners of the entertainment industry that each company is hoping to move into is dominated by the other,” writes VatorNews. “Netflix has recently made a move into original programming, an area which HBO knows a thing or two about, while HBO and its HBO Go site is getting bigger in the online content-streaming world.”
Likely more troubling to Netflix, Engadget suggests that Warner Bros. prioritizing sales over rentals could prove disastrous for streaming services. “This news comes at the same time Time Warner's CFO John Martin remarked upon ‘alternate’ distribution channels as a way for it to move through a more challenging home video market,” it writes. “That means the company is focusing on things like day-and-date VOD releases with discs, which it's seeking to protect from competition by cut-rate rental services … likely by leveraging their desire for content to feed streaming movie offerings.”
“Netflix had a rough 2011,” recalls Gizmodo. “Between its ill-conceived price hike and its even more ill-conceived DVD spin-off company, Qwikster, the movie rental company couldn't win. And now external factors (read: the studios) are making things even worse … by delaying new releases.”