Still staggering from the one-two punch of the infamous 60 percent price increase for unsuspecting users in July, followed by a sloppy September move to break off its mail order business and call it Qwikster – Netflix has been looking a little weak in the legs.
Angry subscribers and jittery investors do not a good combination make.
Let’s hope their latest announcement – conveniently broken the same morning as the Apple show was dominating another couple of news cycles – isn’t the knockout punch.
According to Reuters, “Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has quietly met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies in recent weeks to discuss adding the online movie streaming service to their cable offerings, according to sources familiar with matter.”
Most see these talks as a short term development in a long-term conversation that could bring Netflix to cable television as an on-demand choice. Some even see Netflix as a future rival to HBO. Perhaps Netflix is feeling the heat of a crop of competitors with deep pockets (Google, Amazon and others).
But whether it’s a bid to regain lost confidence or a nod to future partnerships aimed at satiating shareholders, Netflix might just be ignoring the one party that made this all possible – current subscribers.
Should talks with cable companies lead to cozy deals, maybe customers who likely view Netflix as the best option for “cutting the cord” will head elsewhere for streaming content. In other words, simply associating with the cable monopolies will taint the flavor of the entire service.
Last year’s debacle cost Netflix 800,000 subscribers (although they gained back 600,000 by year’s end). They got raked over the coals in a very public way by subscribers, industry watchers and more. Combine that with the fact that you could fit the number of people who feel love for their cable provider in a bouncy castle and you’ve got Netflix looking like they might be poised to step in it again.
Here’s another potential deal that might look great for the bottom line, but alienating to the subscriber base. A subscriber base (myself included) that knows the future of video content and entertainment streams wirelessly across the living room – not through a cord.