First Netflix, now RedBox is increasing the price of DVD rentals. One hypothesis would be that there are fewer customers for DVDs, requiring a price increase to keep the business going. If customers are not moving away from movies all together, but rather switching to alternative ways of getting entertainment on demand, then Netflix is on the right path.
Netflix’s business model switch was too painful to watch – poor external communications, bold consumer reaction to pricing, inconsistent offerings…But they will survive this ordeal – because they are aligned with the future of TV and more broadly, entertainment. They are regarded as a value add to cable services. They give people reasons to enjoy their flat screens. And early adopters, especially among younger viewers, are streaming on demand.Those who focus on the number of customers leaving Netflix are acting on incomplete data. How profitable were those customers who complained and dropped off? Did they order one or 10 movies a week, paying the same subscription fee? If they were infrequent users, how easily would they switch to a streaming service?If they were hyper users, are they more likely to stream or wait for the DVD in the mail?These questions need answers, before we make final claims. The death of qwickster was a distraction. Netflix has some patching to do to mend its reputation. With the right content library and distribution strategy, it can survive.