Netflix Finds Promise In Video 'Seams'
TV is a land of plenty these days – especially when consumers are in a rush to get to the next big thing. At least it would seem that way to Netflix.
Though Netflix primarily runs older seasons of current TV shows -- and its financial picture has seemed a little weak of late (especially considering last summer’s pricing and brand-changing debacle) –- some factors don’t seem so bad.
The good news: Netflix gained 1.9 million new paying customers in the first quarter of 2012. The bad: It also lost 1.1 million mail-order DVD customers. Netflix now has 23.4 million monthly subscribers who stream videoand 10.1 million DVD customers. The company says the number of departing DVD customers was a bit lower than it expected.
According to company officials, Netflix believes it has a leg up on those still-slow-moving cable networks and cable operators pushing for “TV Everywhere” activities. Other new start-up subscription services believe they too can capitalize on sluggish “TV Everywhere” moves.
Netflix continues to serve in a sort of consumer video “seam” -- a place where video-hungry consumers the ability can blow through a recent season’s worth of a broadcast or cable series. To many, that’s a valuable asset in a land where analysts say TV is in a new “golden age” with too many good shows to view and stay current with during a typical season.
More evidence of that: According to Netflix executives, "Even now, the most watched episode of "Mad Men" on any given day on Netflix is the first episode of the first season….This means we are still growing the fan base for this show nearly six years after it first premiered on television."
So that does sound pretty good for the likes of a network like AMC. The CW, which has also made a significant deal with Netflix, probably feels good about this kind of activity.
Netflix may gain its current value there. But, going into the future, it also is tempted to play in the original TV series game with dramas like “Lilyhammer” and the forthcoming “House of Cards.”
Still, we wonder if Netflix will have a long TV/entertainment business life like cable TV systems -- or is it just a transitional service, bridging the gap for the next big thing?
Correction: Contrary to what we wrote in yesterday's TV Watch, The CW network actually derives a fifth of its total multiplatform audience from its digital platforms, including cwtv.com. Netflix is not included.