Netflix is a movie rental company first and foremost but it’s also developing a very strong online video streaming strategy, with its Watch Instantly video-on-demand a huge hit. It has now added ABC shows to its line-up and could soon be available as an iPhone app.
Netflix Watch Instantly
Netflix’s business is built on delivering rented movies to people’s doors and charging them a monthly fee for doing so. And it’s a pretty damn successful business. However, Netflix knows that the days of physical media are coming to an end, with streaming music and video, as well as software and games delivered via the Internet becoming standard.
Therefore, it offers its subscribers the chance to stream video via its ‘Watch Instantly’ service. Those paying the monthly fees required to rent DVDs get access to over 12,000 movies and episodes of popular television series. Not just available on a computer, Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ has been added to a number of devices, from set-top-boxes to the Xbox 360.
ABC Shows Now Available
Netflix has today announced the inclusion of several high profile ABC shows on ‘Watch Instantly’. Viewers will now be able to catch up on the first five seasons of Lost, and previous seasons of Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Legend of the Seeker. This is another indication of ABC’s intentions to open up its content to online video offerings, with shows already on Hulu.
These kinds of drama serials are the perfect fodder for online video services such as Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ offerings. Episodic and addictive, people can now catch up with previous seasons before getting hooked on the current ones playing on mainstream television. Everyone’s a winner, except maybe Apple where iTunes sales are concerned.
Netflix iPhone App
This comes on the back of speculation that a Netflix iPhone app could be on its way to iTunes. That is if Apple allows it, because it is bound to further harm sales of downloads. Regardless, Multichannel claims Netflix will soon be coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as the Nintendo Wii games console.
There are already iPhone apps that allow Netflix customers to manage their content but the one now being developed would allow them to actually watch content on the mobile devices. AT&T wouldn’t be happy with the bandwidth requirements for this over the Internet so it will probably be restricted to local networks via Wi-Fi just like the SlingPlayer iPhone app.
Netflix has a very strong and aggressive strategy for its ‘Watch Instantly’ service, getting it on as many devices as possible. However, to truly reach a wider audience it needs to introduce a streaming-only subscription rather than require people to pay for the DVD deliveries. Luckily, the company has already suggested this is a possibility.
If and when that happens, Netflix could then try to break out of the U.S. and launch its service in Europe and beyond. I’d certainly be interested because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.