Hey Netflix: I'm a little worried about you. You've had a few mis-steps lately in pricing and marketing. Some of the big kids didn't want to play any more. Starz took their ball and went home. The press has declared you dead or dying. That may be premature, but as I said, I'm still a little worried.
Right now, the most desirable content comes from a small number of big media content creators. These big movie studios and television production companies know that they have a stable and favorable financial model with the major US cable television distribution companies, and they appear to be skittish about the Internet generally. More than that, they are wary about allowing the creation of powerful new players in distribution who could become too powerful too fast and forever change the balance of power and flow of dollars. They don't want any one or two companies to dominate (Apple, Netflix, I'm looking at you). But though they may be old dogs, the content creators and rights holders can learn new tricks. They understand the value in having a few good partners for distribution of content to hundreds of millions of viewers. They have that right now. They need to maintain a viable market for their content and if that market is one that a few years from now is predominantly Internet distribution (with appropriate access control) rather than traditional cable television networks, so be it.
Starz and Disney wouldn't want just one bidder for their content in the cable television world. Why would they accept just one in the Internet world? But if Netflix, Apple, Amazon and two or three others all want their content, there could be a vibrant, competitive market.
What do you think? Will Starz, Disney, HBO, and all the rest embrace Internet distribution if sufficient competition exists? Leave a comment and let us know what you'd like to see happen, and what you think will happen.
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