This is probably how Comcast feels about Netflix as it continues to increase the number of movies, TV shows, and other content through Comcast's broadband service. All this seems to be part of the reason Level 3, Netflix's online video server partner, is complaining about extra charges from Comcast.
This would seem to be an apples and oranges comparison between old-style cable networks and other content distributors. In the digital space, there are seemingly no limits. No shelf space. But in fact, there is. Comcast says Level 3 is pushing through twice as much content as other similar companies -- and that's not right.
Comcast, of course, finds itself playing both sides of the fence, both as a big video pipe -- old-style cable TV and new-style broadband -- as well as a content provider.
Industry analysts are already snarking that Comcast views Netflix as a growing content/video service competitor -- one that probably has its eye on lowering the already stagnant-to-lower numbers of traditional subscribers on cable systems these days.
Right now, Netflix is mostly a service that streams movies, not TV shows, so there is no real threat to Comcast. But of course, senior media executives get paid to look at the long term.
Netflix is savvy enough to know it takes a decent level of money to lure content providers (Google executives, take note here), and Netflix could do the same for TV as it has done for movies. At possible prices of $7.99, $9.99, or even $24.99 a month? That would be some deal compared to what consumers are paying cable operators now.
Now back to Comcast-Level 3: As a big cable operator, Comcast knows a thing or two about shelf space. But in the digital media landscape, that old-time retail business term gets fuzzy -- especially to consumers who still see the Internet, and growing digital platforms, in a different ways
In part, Comcast and other big media companies are to blame -- marketing to consumers about a brave new digital world where every possible variety of media content can be available in an unlimited playground.
But there's little mention in all this marketing of how much more all this will cost.