Netflix ISP Speed Site A Possible Brand Booster
Cable operators have a love-hate relationship with Netflix. The online streaming hub can bring more cord-cutting, but also offer revenue opportunities with broadband services.
On Monday, Netflix may have added some more weight to the hate side by debuting a Web site ranking the broadband providers that offer the “best Netflix streaming experience.” Netflix says its ISP Speed Index will be updated monthly.
If it becomes popular, consumers could turn to it when choosing a broadband service, considering how much the need for superb Netflix streaming might play into the decision. The Speed Index site – which covers eight countries – lists Google Fiber as offering the most optimal experience in the U.S. at an average speed of 3.35 Mbps. (Debut rankings are from February.)
But the Google service is only in the Kansas City area. Among the larger providers: Cablevision is the leader at an average of 2.35 Mbps, followed by Suddenlink, Cox, Verizon FiOS and Charter. Comcast is seventh, Time Warner Cable is ninth and AT&T U-Verse isn’t in the top 10, falling below the 2.0 mark.
Of course, not all of these services are competitive with one another. But if prices are comparable, customers trusting Netflix might have a compelling reason to go with FiOS over Comcast or Charter over U-Verse.
Will the Netflix site and rankings have any impact on the TV business beyond Netflix’s role as a disrupter? Possibly.
If over time more operators offer live streaming over iPads in the home and consumers yearn for the viewing opportunity, then it might make sense to go with the provider offering what Netflix deems to be a better service.
The same goes for TV Everywhere-like services. The main purpose with those may be to allow for out-of-home viewing. But customers in homes where family members often compete to get access to the big screen and losers frequently have to use laptops and tablets might also put some faith in Netflix.
For now, though, the Netflix site is more likely to help the company boost its brand as a consumer-friendly service.