The LA Times published an article today that confirms what I’m sure most of us have long expected was coming, that Netflix will almost assuredly start a purely Instant Watch-based subscription level. The company is offering just such a plan in Canada, where they only recently opened up shop. The piece states that the current Canada offering is a test of sorts, and that expansion to the US will depend on performance, but is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that it will be popular? How many cumulative weeks have your Netflix discs sat on the counter by the door over the years, sadly forgotten as we rack-focus into the living room where you and your family laugh and munch popcorn over a warm laptop (or Roku Box, or XBOX360, or Wii, or PS3, or AppleTV, or whatever)…?
If you need any more convincing, check out these statistics from the same piece:
• Netflix is about to cross the threshold of delivering more hours of content via streaming service than it does by disc.
* Netflix spends more capital on its Intstant Watch library than on physical media, and they just signed a deal with cable channel EPIX which adds large sections of the libraries of Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM.
• Well over half of their subscribers watched 15 or more minutes of streaming content last quarter, and their numbers are growing quickly.
• Less than 4% of Netflix subscribers cancel, and while revenue has dropped slightly because of people scaling back to smaller plans, their new subscription numbers are growing immensely, up almost 300% from a year ago.
There are even more detailed statistics in the piece, but the point remains clear: the company that made a name by thinking of a new way for people to rent movies are navigating the distribution paradigm change, making great strides everyday, and pissing harder and harder on the graves of the dinosaurs that didn’t (not couldn’t, but didn’t).