Netflix is just a cable company

by Byron on September 15, 2011

Netflix is just a cable company, without the cable. They aggregate content. Forget the ridiculous dvd’s model. For the future, digital delivery is the only thing that’s relevant.

Which begs the questions, who will succeed at aggregating the content and who will succeed at delivering the content? Think about HBO Go for a second. You get it at the web address or via apps. These two things aren’t all that different. In my case, in terms of “paying to get to get there” (delivery), I pay comcast when I’m in my house, and AT&T when I’m not. When I’m in starbucks, I pay no one. But I do drink americanos.

But how do I pay for the content once I’m there? With HBO Go, I paid comcast for the content and comcast remits a large chunk of that revenue to HBO. Don’t get confused – I didn’t get it free with my HBO subscription through Comcast. I paid for it same as I ever did. It was just delivered differently. And comcast offered a very different value add to HBO. They aggregate billing and they help sell. That is it.

Which brings us back to Netflix. In essence, all Netflix wants to do is aggregate billing and help sell. That recommendations engine is an impressive sales tool. Maybe not as good as Amazon’s, but a hell of a lot better than Comcast’s. Think about it – they know everything I watch when I’m at home, and they’ve never once truly customized a sales pitch to me. But I digress.

If comcast and netflix are just billing and sales, do they have a place? Absolutely! But not as they are now. Both were built around the model of being delivery too. Delivery is over for netflix, and has probably peaked for comcast.

They both need to focus on adding more value to both the content provider and the content consumer. A la carte billing, for one. Better recommendations and synergy for two. My content consumption bill should be lower, and I should pay more for that which I actually consume. Get it? I’m tired of giving $.63 per month to lifetime. I don’t watch it. Ever. And yes, I will pay more per month for ESPN.

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