Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Customers

March 29, 2012 -

According to a VentureBeat report (thanks Andrew Eisen), Netflix has quietly separated its DVD and streaming entertainment subscriptions. In its initial report the publication assumed that this change was across the board and would force customers who subscribe to both types of Netflix services to use two different sites. A subsequent update revealed that Netflix was simply separating the web site for customers who had subscriptions to one or the other: DVD-by-mail rental or unlimited streaming video service.

Some DVD customers reported the change, noting that they were no longer able to rate and review movies and DVD shows on the main Netflix listing page. Instead, they found themselves redirected to a new page at dvd.netflix.com.

While the change might be a little disconcerting for customers who only use DVD's or Streaming separately, the changes won't affect customers who use a hybrid subscription.

Source: VentureBeat

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Comments

Re: Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Customers

I don't see the advantage to doing it this way.  You'd think Netflix would want single-service subscribers to see what they're missing so they're motivated to subscribe to both.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Customers

i don't see the advantage either. i recently jumped from disc-only to streaming only.  now whenever streaming doesn't have something (which is all the damn time), it no longer tells me it's available on disc - it just doesn't acknowledge it at all. so i have to google "netflix <title>" to see if it does in fact exist period.

example - i searched for moneyball and came up with a list of streaming movies with "money" in it, none of which were moneyball.  the top hit was the insane clown posse's big money rustlas.  no mention of moneyball, like they didn't even have it.  googling showed they had it on disc only.

i would say that system would push some unhappy streaming users to drop netflix altogether instead of considering a hybrid subscription, since they're not being shown that what they want actually does exist on netflix somewhere.

Re: Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Customers

That's a one-way proposition for Netflix, though. Streaming-only customers are probably missing out on DVD content that Netflix does not own streaming rights for. But DVD-only customers aren't missing anything but the convenience of streaming, and it's possible that a good many of those customers either can't use streaming because of insufficient bandwidth, or aren't interested in the extra convenience. 

Digital delivery, either downloads or streaming, is clearly the future, but how and when are issues that are still deeply divisive, and I'm guessing the video content creators do not want Hulu or Netflix to become as important in their industry as Apple has become in the music industry. That means not allowing any external player to offer the kind of convenience and price points that Apple did, or ceding control of pricing. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the industry working the way it always has. Look at HBO to Go. I live halfway around the world, HBO is not on my cable operator. But I have broadband. HBO makes its own content. If it wanted, it could sell it to me directly, day and date with broadcast. But they don't, and they won't, because they're too conservative to alienate their existing traditional partners, the cable operators. They're willing to give up a chance at all the customers they don't have in order to keep those operators happy. They don't really want consumers as clients, because individuals are volatile and difficult to please. They want to minimize risk, and that means treating operators like their clients. 

It seems that there's an internal struggle going on at Netflix between those who want to push streaming as the future, and those who want to continue to support the DVD business because it's traditional, well understood, and profitable. It's likely that DVD customers subsidize streaming customers, and somebody wants to stop this-- first by dividing the business units, now by clearly separating the streaming-only and the dvd-only subscribers.

Re: Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Customers

I agree. It seems like a poor business model actually. It's kind of like now when I use my streaming package, only videos that can be streamed show up when I search. It used to list everything that could either be streamed or rented to encourage me to get the rental service. I'm not necessarily complaining since I don't have to scroll as much now, but it might still be a bad business model.

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