Over the last couple years, I’ve been a devoted Netflix customer, paying my fee every month to access the company’s streaming service. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s time for Netflix to go.
I came to that realization recently when I started accessing content on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video. I watched a few television shows, checked out a couple movies I hadn’t seen in a long time, and realized something: for $79 per year, I was getting an experience that matches what I get from Netflix for about $96 per year.
[Image credit: Roo Reynolds]
So, I have to ask: Why do we have Netflix?
Looking around the entertainment space, it seems that many content providers agree. Starz, for example, is likely going to pull its content from Netflix at the beginning of March after the companies couldn’t come to a new agreement. HBO has been one of the most desired content providers for Netflix users, but that company has balked at the idea of offering its content on the service, saying that such a deal wouldn’t make sound financial sense.
Now, many believe that Netflix will need to pay much more just to get the same content it currently offers. And with a major cash shortfall that forced the company to raise $400 million in November just to keep things going, it’s quite possible that the company could have some trouble offering the same level of service it does now.
But Amazon is different. Although its Instant Video service doesn’t have as much content as Netflix, and it too lacks key shows and movies, the e-retail giant has the cash to manage its streaming service. What’s more, its relationship with content providers seems to be much stronger, which should only help it enter into key agreements.
I should note that I don’t have anything against Netflix. I just don’t see how multiple companies can succeed in the streaming space over time. Content providers will start entering into exclusive agreements, streaming companies will establish greater barriers to entry, and in the process, consumers will lose. Rather than get all the content we want on one service, we’ll be forced to pay for multiple offerings to do so.
Granted, it’s not so different from what we’re experiencing now, but how much longer do we really want to go through this?
The time has come for one content provider to rule them all. And as much as I have enjoyed using Netflix over the years (and still do), it’s quickly becoming the weak link. Amazon, on the other hand, is well on its way to becoming the streaming leader. So, why not embrace that and see Amazon destroy (or at the very least, acquire) Netflix?