February 23, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
We know that streaming video viewership is constantly increasing. We know that Netflix has increased the options for accessing its “Watch Instantly” streaming service. And we know that the company has also increased its streaming video TV and movie choices—but only a little, and that they’re still only about a tenth of what you can get by renting actual discs.
Of course, Netflix wants to expand those options, and it wants more people to take advantage of streaming. Company CEO Reed Hastings told Bloomberg (report via Ars Technica) that streaming is a top priority for Netflix, and that we could see streaming-only subscription plans by next year or as early as the end of 2009.
“Right now, the power of the service is that hybrid message, the best of both,” Hastings said about consumers’ being able to rent DVDs and watch streaming videos through the same plan. “So we’re putting most of our wood behind that. But we recognize at some point in the long term, the streaming will be good enough that an appreciable number of people will find streaming is all they need.”
He went on to say, “We’ve got one singular objective, which is ‘Be successful in streaming.’”
Current Netflix monthly subscriptions range from $4.99 (one DVD out at a time, two DVD limit per month) to $16.99 (three DVDs at a time, unlimited exchange), and all include the “Watch Instantly” streaming service at no cost.
Hastings also noted that the company would be investing more in expanding the number of online titles (thanks, since we’ve been hearing the 12,000-plus figure for a while now it seems), and that Netflix has seen an increase of 600,000 subscribers already this year. Update: It appears Netflix is already extending its reach of convenience—Gadgetell says the New York Times and Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews include an “Add” button to get them right into your queue.
Will you bite for a streaming-only subscription?
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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