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Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, predicted that DVDs may lose their number one spot for the company’s video distribution after two years. He didn’t say what was replacing this but he did add that their streaming service is growing while subscribers are switching to lower-priced plans that allow only one DVD to be out at a time.
The equivalent service in the UK is Love Film and I’m sure subscribers would be keen to switch to streaming as the incumbent postal service (Royal Mail) is in turmoil with unions fighting management and strikes on the horizon. Streaming at least removes this potential problem. I’m still waiting for my second film of the month which is three days late.
The question here is whether DVD (and Blu-ray) will eventually give way to streaming? Streaming video makes practical sense as subscribers can access content via games consoles, Set top boxes and broadband-enabled HDTVs. The convenience beats having to repackage rented DVDs or driving to Blockbusters.
Where does this leave Blu-ray? Netflix delivers around 10% of their films on Blu-ray and streaming will overtake this figure soon. Netflix offers a bundled service so consumers can choose how to watch their films. It does seem, with the emergence of streaming (coupled with a sensible business model), Blu-ray may not be as prevalent as DVD. DVD will eventually slip off the radar but predicting that point is impossible. For example, I still have friends who record TV shows on their VCR! This is just dirty in my view. Betamax anyone?