As a former Netflix subscriber I have many positive things to say about the company’s offerings. Over the years it has provided me countless hours of streamable television shows and movies on those long weekends. But, the one considerable gripe I had, as well as many other customers, is the lack of recent titles. While Netflix does offer thousands of movie titles and television shows, there is really only a small fraction of those that I would actually want to watch.
Like most casual viewers, we want to see the more recent flicks we might have passed on in their theatrical run. There are only so many times a man can watch Gladiator. That’s why licensing agreements are so important for the company’s well-being. Netflix recently inked deals that would provide subscribers access to many big budget hits of last year. Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Captain America: The First Avenger, are a few of the titles coming to the streaming service.
In other news, the company has teamed up with DVD distributor, Redbox, in effort to fight back against Walt Disney Studios’ request for a 28 day shut out. After the colossal failure of its 250 million dollar film, John Carter, the Disney is hoping that DVD sales will help recoup some of the 200 million dollar loss it is reportedly dealing with. So, by blocking video and streaming service providers from offering the title, the company hopes that will spur more people to buy instead, a seemingly faulty logic, given the fact that the movie was all but ignored at the box office, which would appear to signal weak DVD sales.
Netflix does have agreements with other large studios that also require a “window,” but those studios provide Netflix with a discounted rate or other titles. There is no such deal with Disney, thus the kerfuffle. So Netflix, Redbox, and even Blockbuster are buying the John Carter DVDs at local retailers and distributing them to their customers instead of abiding by the 28 day window request. While this keeps customers that want fresh movies happy, there is only so many times Netflix can afford to do this. Purchasing DVDs at retail price versus buying directly from the studio is undoubtedly more expensive.
Netflix needs licensing deals to survive, and until it is able to sustain a nice flow of new and desirable titles, the company will most likely see its stock and new membership continue to fall.