Despite reporting difficulties in working out licensing agreements with the major studios, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tells Business Week they intend to offer movie downloads by yearend. Perhaps the first iteration of their service, via TiVo or purely web-based means, will consist of the 90 independent films they’ve licensed for distribution.
Business Week says: Nevertheless, Hastings is hedging his bets by expanding Netflix into niches that will help it maintain an edge as new rivals emerge. He also wants to be a player in Web distribution, which it will launch by yearend even though Hastings thinks the market for downloading will be tiny for years. Netflix hopes a rep as the cool auteur’s friend will build an army of loyal customers before its download service competes with Apple Computer, Yahoo!, or Comcast.