Netflix Offers Unlimited Online Viewing

Dave Zatz —  December 28, 2007

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Initially offered to new customers, Netflix has started providing select, existing subscribers unlimited online viewing. I’m not sure this would be economically viable for Netflix in the long-term… However, I can’t imagine them rescinding the feature once received. Also notable, Netflix’s online library now exceeds “6000 familiar movies and TV episodes.”

Possibly related, on December 19th, Blockbuster applied for a Blockbuster Media Minutes trademark:

CONSUMER LOYALTY INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR COMMERCIAL, PROMOTIONAL AND/OR ADVERTISING PURPOSES WHERE PARTICIPANTS ACCUMULATE VALUE FROM PURCHASES WHICH CAN BE REDEEMED FOR MERCHANDISE, DISCOUNTS OR CASH PRIZES.

While the description itself doesn’t seem noteworthy, the name seems to describe the innovative method that Netflix utilizes for metered streaming: For every dollar spent per month on a Netflix subscription, that many hours are available for online viewing. Perhaps Blockbuster intends to go down a similar path, leveraging their recently acquired Movielink assets. Or, perhaps it really is just a boring loyalty program.

6 responses to Netflix Offers Unlimited Online Viewing

  1. I wish I were given the option to *not* have the online viewing option and save a buck or two a month on the subscription. I can’t watch the movies online, since I’m a Mac user and the player only works on Windows. But even if they had a Mac version, I’m not really interested in this feature. I just don’t like watching movies on my computer. If it’s truly, honestly free, I don’t really care either way, but this has to be costing them money, and that money has to be coming from somewhere. And I resent paying for something I can’t use, and wouldn’t use even if I can…

  2. Yah, the build-out and licensing are costing them… and ultimately us. Though it’s mostly the shareholders at this time. ;) I don’t recall the details, but in one of their earnings calls they mentioned millions of dollars being set aside for this. Sounds like there could be a cross-platform Silverlight solution in the pipeline, but who knows when we’ll see it.

    I’d probably be willing to shave a buck or two off my bill to turn off the online viewing. I’ve got plenty of Slingboxes and Hulu to cover me when I’m mobile. And movies I generally prefer on the big screen. Not to mention, I used to take Netflix DVDs with me to watch on my laptop (before the DVD drive died).

  3. Sounds like a great idea. My Vista lovin Dell 30″ will benefit.

    To heck with Mack owners. This is why they have iTuned!

  4. If not that many people use it, and those only for a small number of movies/TV Shows, then making it unlimited doesn’t cost them much and gets them a lot of press and good will. *If*

  5. I just switched from Blockbuster to Netflix. I had been very happy with Total Access, but they made the mistake of hopping up the price to $34.95 w/out offering an alternative program that included Movielink integration. Anyways, love the Watch Now feature of Netflix…Don’t see why it should be economically unfeasible, especially if they start utilizing a P2P technology. Maybe they should buy out Joost?

  6. I’m thinking economically unfeasible in the licensing sense… Someone gets paid each time a video is streamed.