Try an On-Premise Installation of your On-Demand Solution for Free!

This odd message is essentially what Netflix is pushing these days.  Since I subscribe to their on-demand subscription – I have Netflix on my Apple TV and Oppo Blu-ray, and the streaming software is also available for all computer and mobile devices – I received this offer this morning:

We'd like to offer you a free month of DVDs! Add an unlimited DVD plan today for only $7.99 more a month and enjoy an even broader selection of movies & TV shows.

Fast, free delivery. Unlimited exchanges. And no late fees – ever!

Note the emphasized words above. Is the fact that Netflix can’t get movies to stream a sign that it has given up on the studios?  Much as I like (though it’s more my two daughters who use the service) the streaming Netflix offering, not going back to standard resolution DVDs in 2013?  No thanks.

From a business-model angle, this is perplexing – several steps backwards by going for a physical delivery with all the packaging, postage, manual handling,  transportation, inventory in transit, tracking, matching, etc.

All these expenses (to those in California and Sweden, they’re not actually “free” - that’s just marketing-speak) focused on the model of ten years ago, instead of pouring efforts into getting digital, streamable content?

Hedging your bets might be prudent, but I read this as a sad sign that the Hollywood studios are stubbornly refusing to go along with a more open licensing format for streaming purposes.

Data silos… – you’re not helping here Hollywood.  ERP data as well as movies need to be made available to users – not via sneakerware (optical media) but integrated and on demand.  All you are doing is fueling demand for “services” such as The Pirate Bay.  Better to get a smaller slice of a large and growing pie, than nothing from pirated content.

Closing on a technical note for the geeks in the audience – the Netflix offering comes in wildly differing levels of implementation quality – features and QA depend on the device.  I suspect that Netflix maintains a master set of performance and design criteria and then outsources the development to various partners (in India, China, etc.), all with slightly different ideas on how many of the nice-to-have features to implement.  Some have personalization, some have searches, some have other filters and some are more linear (think VCR-programming) than others.  It’s a mixed bag, making for an interesting study in how to roll out a secure access solution across multiple devices.

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