Video services

Netflix Tries Again With DVD-Only Option

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is bringing back a DVD-only option for new customers, but it's not about to replay its Qwikster debacle and separate out that part of its business. The company on Thursday announced a new US$7.99 per month service that dedicates access to Netflix's library of 100,000 DVD and Blu-ray titles. Following a series of blunders last year that were low-lighted by much-maligned price hikes, Netflix stock is also on a bit of a comeback, closing at $121.91 on Thursday, up from its 52-week low of $74.25. (See Netflix Kills Qwikster.)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s cable unit has promoted Cathy Avgiris to EVP and GM of data and communications services, a role that calls for her to head up the rollout of the MSO's new Verizon Wireless bundles, which are now offered in three markets, and the company's budding Wi-Fi service. Avgiris, a 20-year Comcast vet, will continue to helm the MSO's high-speed Internet and voice services. (See Comcast, VZ Wireless Bundle Up in the Bay .)

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) says more than 250,000 of its digital video customers are tuning in to play TAG Games, an interactive, cloud-based service from partner ActiveVideo that features more than 20 casual game titles. Cablevision says customers are spending about 1.7 million hours on the service each month and playing nearly 3 million games a week.

  • Hulu LLC 's invasion of the world's most popular game consoles is complete following its debut on the Nintendo Wii. The $7.99 per month Hulu Plus video streaming service is already on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, and will make it to the portable Nintendo 3DS later this year.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:42:20 PM
    re: Netflix Tries Again With DVD-Only Option

    Seems that Netflix can't decide whether staying in the DVD rental business is a good idea.  One day they try to separate it out, then they bring it back in, and now they want to lure new subs with a re-spun DVD-only option. JB

    shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:42:19 PM
    re: Netflix Tries Again With DVD-Only Option

    Maintaining the proper balance between a legacy business and "the future" is usually difficult, and Netflix may have tipped over too far and too quickly to the future side. Shoring up the legacy bit may help provide some needed stability.

    craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:42:18 PM
    re: Netflix Tries Again With DVD-Only Option

    I also wonder if Netflix is getting pressure from Hollywood studios, which are trying to hold on to the remnants of the DVD business and prove that Blu-Ray isn't a dumb business decision.

    ethertype 12/5/2012 | 5:42:14 PM
    re: Netflix Tries Again With DVD-Only Option

    The studios' pressure comes in the form of them refusing to allow streaming of more popular content for anything less than premium prices.  Netflix seems set on its pricing model for streaming, which limits what they are willing to pay for content.  The studios' response to Netflix, effectively: "We think we can get more money for the good stuff, so you just keep streaming the back catalog, and we'll send you more goodies after we've squeezed all the premium revenue out of them."

    It doesn't help that the studios continue to see Netflix as the one streaming service that has to be contained at all costs, lest they get too dominant, like Kindle for e-books.  They want a lot of viable streaming outlets who are competing for new releases and premium content.  As a result, Netflix's size and early lead is actually working against them.

    Netflix is finally realizing that this game is going to take a long time to play out, and in the meantime, they can't just rely on their crappy streaming line-up to satisfy a big chunk of their customer base (including me).  We had streaming + DVD service until last September, but my family's streaming "hit rate" (i.e. we looked for a specific movie and found that it was available to stream) was always less than 10%.  So we reverted to DVD only.  Netflix is basically admitting that there are plenty of us who will be in that same boat for a long time.

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