I'm really surprised that many people in the industry think that Wednesday's announcement by Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) is such a good thing. The announcement limits Netflix's (NASDAQ:NFLX) access to new release DVD and Blu-ray titles after a 28-day window.
While the argument is that Netflix now gets access to more digital content, Warner Brothers is not willing to say just how much content Netflix will get or how new any of that content will be. If this deal is so good for everyone involved, why won't anyone give out specifics? Why won't they tell us how many new hours worth of digital content this gives Netflix? Why should we believe that the consumer is the one that is really going to benefit from this?
In my mind, all this does is allow Warner Bros. to further control how and when consumers watch content. It removes choice from the market and simply allows the studios to continue to have way too much control over the consumer. I know the argument by some will be that Netflix is betting big on streaming and that this is about the future, but streaming movies are not going to replace DVD or VOD rentals in the next five years. Even Netflix says they expect to still be renting DVDs in 2020.
While everyone wants to rally behind the fact this deal pertains to digital content, it makes no real impact on the market other than reducing Netflix's costs, which is good for the company, but bad for giving consumers more control in the market.
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