Netflix Movie Streaming Eats Into DVD – Big Studios Launch Web Site Before TV Channel

1 min read

The Internet is becoming an increasing presence in terms of delivering high quality, premium content via subscription services. So much so that streaming is starting to eat into sales of physical media. And a new venture from major movie studios looks set to continue that trend.

I’ve written before how Web video is moving away from being amateur hour and into the realms of professional content produced in high quality. This is true of YouTube, with people like ‘Fred’ producing comedy skits, and it’s true of premium services such as Netflix.

Netflix Streaming Vs. DVD Rentals

Netflix started as a DVD by-post rental service, offering a flat-rate fee for customers to rent as many movies as they want in a month. This is still the company’s main source of revenue and a huge part of its business. However, Netflix now also offers streaming movies over the Internet.

Since the beginning of 2008, the majority of Netflix owners have had unlimited access to the ‘Watch Now’ feature. This enables them to watch as much streaming content as they like without paying any extra subscription fees over what they already are.

Real Competition

Now, a year later, Netflix is reporting how people who stream movies via the ‘Watch Now’ service are renting less DVDs and Blu-ray discs. This might seem obvious, but it proves that digital content is competition to physical media.

While this trend won’t actually affect Netflix in real terms, because people have to have a paid subscription in order to stream movies anyway, it does offer an indication of where the company may have to focus its attentions in the long-term.

Epix Web Site

This news comes on the same day that a consortium of MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Lions Gate has announced plans for a new movie channel. But while it’s not set to launch on traditional television until October, Epix will be launched as a subscription-only Web site in May.

15,000 movies will be available from the three studio’s huge libraries, all of which will be available to stream over the Web five months before the channel launches for real. The Web streaming portion of the venture is not being classed as the primary business model, but the fact it’s being done at all gives another indication of the way things are headed.

Physical Media Is Doomed

DVD sales are slowing down, and while some people are moving over to Blu-ray, many don’t feel the need to bother building another collection in a physical format when they can stream or download them instead. Could this be the beginning of the end for physical media?