Netflix Contemplates Higher Tier Video Streaming

Dave Zatz —  February 1, 2009

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings previously and repeatedly seemed to indicate they’d never introduce a pay-per-view video download model or higher tiers of video streaming. However, it looks like that topic has been reopened for discussion. In a customer survey going around, Netflix wonders if we’d pay an additional $10 a month to stream “HBO original series and movies.” Personally, I believe a higher tier or PPV is the only way Netflix will be license a large stable of current Hollywood blockbusters. So, I’m not entirely opposed to the idea. However, $10 seems a bit steep for this HBO content, especially with many of these shows available on DVD. Unless the tier provides currently running series in a timely fashion, say within 24 hour of airing, and timely big budget films, the pricing strikes me as a bit extreme. (Compared to what we currently pay.) Not to mention, Showtime’s delivering better original programming these days.

10 responses to Netflix Contemplates Higher Tier Video Streaming

  1. No. I have developed discussion points but, no matter how you swing it, the end result is always going to be no for me on an extra $10 a month.

  2. Interesting. Sort of like subscribing to a cable channel a la carte without going through cable.

    I might pay a little more, but not too much at this point – and like Dave said, I’m not sure HBO is the one I’d pay more for these days.

  3. I like the concept of an online cable channel, via a service I already use. But it needs to be a better value prop. For only a few bucks more, I can get all of HBO via Comcast and DVR tons of movies and their original programming. Obviously, most of the back catalog isn’t available but, again, it’s all on DVD. I’d pay 10 bucks if it included a sizable lineup of new Hollywood hits. But I’ve already seen nearly every episode of The Wire…

  4. 10 bucks per month will get me two to three current movies on other VOD services….

  5. From what is on the list, I can tell that what Netflix is talking about is exactly what HBO offers by way of HBO on Demand – all HBO series that are airing the current month, with episodes available the day after original airing, and most, though not all, of the movies available on HBO during the month (choice is no doubt due to contracts with different studios). Most people pay around $12.95 a month for HBO on top of their cable bill, so I suspect that would interest those who are interested in HBO – primarily for its original programming – and don’t want to pay for cable or don’t have cable. HBO has been very conservative about making its programming available via the net, so it’s not at all surprising that the price is only a bit lower than cable charges for HBO. I think that only a small minority of Netflix subscribers would be interested, but if they can get 5% of their customers to subscribe to HBO, that would be more than enough to make it worthwhile for both HBO and Netflix. I can see the marketing slogan: “Now you can cancel cable…and keep HBO”

  6. I’d pay extra to have titles available to watch instantly the same day they’re out on dvd, but not hbo.

  7. I already have HBO though the local cable co. so this wouldn’t pay for me. I would however pay more for new release streams.

    After my free trial it seems like the streams quality has drop horribly. I went from 3-4 bars in the free trial to maybe 2, But mostly 1 bar. If the streams got better I would shell out a few more bucks a month.

  8. I agree that currently Showtime has better content anyway. :-)

    Weeds, Californication, and United States of Tara are much better than anything on HBO currently.

  9. I would love to see Netflix offering an IP TV style a la carte rival to the current Comcast / DishTV / DirectTV type offerings.
    Give me the same range of live and on-demand content that I get from cable today with minimal advertising and I’d love to pay them for that service – if it’s less than I pay for Cable TV today then it makes sense.

  10. No, seriously no.

    HBO hasn’t had anything interesting on since the Sopranos and Deadwood went off the air. I cancelled them as a channel on Comcast some time back. I’ve kept going with Showtime because of Californication and Weeds, though again at the moment there’s nothing I watch on and I may be cancelling that too.

    As others have said, I’d rather see Netflix offer higher price tiers for more content availability, or HD access, or timing closer to DVD release or whatever than this.

    Obviously right now they just want to get as many people watching their streams on as many devices as possible so they can use that leverage with the studios, but I’m just waiting for the day when they don’t need to ship out disks any more.