Flirting With Netflix, Cable TV Companies Court Danger

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(from BloombergBusinessweek, October 14, 2013) Netflix has made their stand and will not be going anywhere any time soon, unless of course they come into your home through the cable box.  As is the case with most cable and broadcast providers, Netflix is currently looking to find ways of teaming up with competing suppliers of television in order to reach new customers.  After successful campaigns in which Netflix has entered the in home big screen by providing “Netflix only” shows through gaming consoles and internet capable televisions, the company is now eyeballing deals with cable providers like Comcast as a new means of gaining market shares.

By providing services to cable customers, Netflix hopes they can lure viewers away from live TV and towards the convenience of on-demand shows and movies.  Ultimately Netflix would love nothing more than for cable consumers to realize that Netflix without cable is much cheaper than and just as convenient as TV with cable.

On the other side of the negotiating table, cable companies are weighing the benefits of teaming up with a valid competitor that will allow customers more viewing options.  Even more importantly however, cable companies are realizing the benefits associated with the consumers’ option to use online streaming with Netflix.  By granting customers click of a button access to Netflix, cable companies can easily tack on internet usage fees to monthly bills, all while maintaining the illusion that Netflix is just a part of cable.  Furthermore, cable companies are negotiating with Netflix for commission when selling Netflix subscriptions directly to consumers.

In the end it seems as if the real winner is the consumer.  With the future of television looking brighter, with more options and more internet, customers will ultimately decide whether loyalty lies with live television or on-demand shows.  For now, one thing that is certain is that Netflix will continue to strive to be more like premium TV channels such as HBO or Starz.  By adding series that can only be viewed through Netflix and by continuing to find new ways of getting into the consumers living room, Netflix will continue to flex their muscles…anytime, anywhere.