I used to think Mark Cuban was a smart guy. If smarts were judged by the amount of money in one’s bank account, Cuban would be a genius. So I don’t understand how Cuban could think that cable will threaten NetFlix.
The other thing to note is the percentage of Netflix subscribers that already subscribe to a TV provider. Netflix has to be concerned that it will be easier for those people to give up Netflix if their TV provider expands their VOD offerings and allows for queuing of streams to a TV channel than it will to give up the TV provider.
Maybe Cuban is worried because he owns a cable TV station and depends on subscribers. Maybe his billion-dollar bank account has blinded him to the burden that a $100+ monthly cable bill presents to the average American. Cuban’s certainly got to keep his cable television masters happy or face his HDNet channels being dropped. To say that a working-class family would opt to choose an ever-escalating cable bill with horrible service over a $15/month, all you can watch NetFlix streaming account is unlikely to me, but I admit I don’t watch much TV.
As for the argument that NetFlix’s 28-day window restriction is turning many NetFlix viewers off, that doesn’t concern me. The reason I stopped shopping at Blockbuster is that they focused too much on new releases. For those of you not paying attention, almost all new Hollywood releases suck. NetFlix, on the other hand, offers access to quality movies. You’re almost guaranteed to see a good movie. True, you have to plan ahead a bit but the odds are much greater than walking into your neighborhood Blockbuster.
As I said before, the future of TV isn’t expensive satellite channels like HDNet. Satellite channels are the middlemen. Viewers will soon buy all of their television by the episode. Streaming television like NetFlix is the future. If anyone should be worried, it’s the cable companies. I find it puzzling that Cuban, whose Broadcast.com was one of the original streaming services, doesn’t get it.
(hat tip: Hacking NetFlix)
Update: Maybe I give Cuban too much credit. Read this nonsense from his blog:
I got news for everyone, the bandwidth in your home is more limited and more variable and harder to manage than the bandwidth coming into your house from the internet.
WTF? This deserves a response in itself, but that’s a post for another day.