Row, row, row your show, gently down the stream

Online video streaming is pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?

I now stream most of my entertainment online which is why I haven’t been inside a video store in years. A trip to the video store used to be such a routine part of enjoying TV shows and movies. Now, the concept almost seems archaic – driving to the store, browsing the shelves, waiting in line to check out a DVD, having to return a film to the same location, etc. And don’t forget late fees! Oh, those late fees!


What had been a successful business model for years began to erode once the concept of online streaming caught on with the public and the amount of available content became extensive. Blockbuster, once the nation’s dominant provider of home video and video game rental services, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. My independent neighborhood video store closed long before that.

I’ve been a Netflix member for a few years now, and I subscribe to their streaming service. I’m fond of documentary programming and they have an extensive selection of shows from National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channel. I’ve also watched several cable TV shows via streaming – “Mad Men,” “Weeds,” “Louie,” etc.

It’s been interesting to observe Netflix’s business model change as a result of streaming. When I first joined, the company primarily handled DVD rentals. Their streaming selection was limited and it was included as a bonus to members. Now, their offerings are vast and feature many newly released mainstream movies. The service now holds real value, and so I can understand why Netflix recently began offering streaming as a separate service.

And then there’s YouTube. I admit that I’ve enjoyed all the top viral videos along with what seems like the rest of the general viewing public – “Chocolate Rain,” “Friday,” “Charlie Bit My Finger,” etc. I’m amazed that a family video of one brother biting another brother can be viewed 484 million times!

I love the controlled chaos of YouTube. It’s like decades of pop culture exploded and landed on the site. YouTube satisfies whatever random thing happens to enter my head at any given time on any given day – a favorite scene from a movie, a song I enjoyed when I was a teen. It’s rare that I can’t find something.

Again, streaming comes down to convenience and accessibility, concepts the digital marketing agency knows well. If the mantra of today’s consumer of news and entertainment is “I want what I want when I want it,” then providers like Netflix and YouTube are happy to oblige.

Coming Soon: The Netflix Channel?

Yeah, you read that right. It was announced today that Netflix is in talks to exclusively distribute a new show from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. The show, a remake of the classic U.K. drama “House of Cards”, would be owned by Netflix and would be shown exclusively through them. It hasn’t been confirmed as to how much Netflix would have to pay to get this show, but they have offered to guarantee 26 episodes, or two full seasons, whereas most networks must see a pilot before even one season is greenlighted. This flexibility might be what gets the show for them. This would make Netflix it’s own network, and a potential competitor to some of the pricier cable networks like HBO and Showtime.

This has very exciting implications for the average consumer such as myself. I predicate this all with the assumption that they don’t raise their prices too much, but if Netflix expanded to having their own shows, as well as their already enormous library of past stuff, I might never need to pay for cable again. Also, for those of us who use Xboxes or Playstations to watch Netflix, when Hulu is added to the Xbox online marketplace there will be no need to pay the obscene prices for cable. Wouldn’t that be great?

This news will definitely affect the ever changing consumer entertainment industry. With the announcement of Facebook offering movies, and now this bombshell, it will be interesting to see what else will come up: maybe individual networks separate and become Netflix-esque online networks, or maybe Hulu modifies their site to show episodes the night they air. I don’t know, but it should be good for us.

Coming Soon: Movie Rental on Facebook

Like Movies? Hate going to Blockbuster, or waiting for your Netflix movies to arrive? Disappointed in the limited selection of movies available to watch online? Well things are looking up.  Mashable announced today that Warner Bros. is making their movies available to rent online… through Facebook. Yeah, you read that right. Starting today, when you visit the fan page of some of your favorite Warner Bros. movies, you can not only “like” the movie, but you can also rent it and watch it right there. The rentals are available for the low price of $3, or 30 Facebook Credits, which are an online currency that buys you things on Facebook. At the moment the feature is only available for “The Dark Night“, but they are going to be expanding soon.

This is an interesting development for all of us 600 million Facebook users. It takes the already expansive user experience provided by the social media giant, and opens up a door that leads to a world of new possibilities. I would love to see Facebook to become a place that incorporates a Netflix + Hulu type video catalog that, with a low monthly price, can be available for use online and on other internet enabled devices (TV’s, video game consoles, etc.). Then they can add music and some proper games and I’ll never have to leave the site. Sounds good to me.