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The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Netflix'

Monday, April 18

Boucher on Netflix’s Deception

By Brad

Over at Multichannel News, our own Rick Boucher has written a piece examining Netflix’s admission that it has reduced video speeds for the customers of two wireless providers. An excerpt:

Netflix’s stunning admission that, for five years, it reduced the video speeds of customers of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless — while not doing so for customers of Sprint and T-Mobile — is little short of breathtaking. It was an exercise in hypocrisy to claim that broadband providers were degrading the quality of its video when, in fact, Netflix — without notifying its customers — was doing precisely that.
Recall the history here to understand why Netflix’s actions were so brazen and deserving of governmental review. Traditionally, peering agreements among content networks and last-mile Internet-service providers (ISPs) were never regulated, but were always negotiated between private parties.
For Netflix, arm’s-length negotiations posed a problem, because as the share of total bandwidth taken by its content grew (up to 37% at peak hours, according to one survey in March of 2015), its position became ever more untenable. It wanted ISPs to build more bandwidth to consumers for Netflx’s use, but it didn’t want to help pay for that. It didn’t want its own business model constrained.

You can read Boucher’s full piece, titled “Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ Collapses,” over at Multichannel News.

Wednesday, September 17

Filings Reveal…

By Brad

Among the tidal wave of comments the FCC has received over the open Internet/Title II issue, Fred Campbell of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology finds something interesting. As he writes:

A stunning revelation is buried in a lengthy Netflix filing at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Netflix used its subscribers as pawns in a Machiavellian game of regulatory chess designed to win favorable Internet regulations.

The filing reveals that Netflix knowingly slowed down its video streaming service with the intention of blaming Internet service providers (ISPs). Specifically, Netflix used its relationships with Internet ‘backbone’ providers (e.g., Level 3, Cogent) to deliberately congest their peering links with ISPs, and at the same time, started publishing ‘ISP speed rankings’ to make it appear that ISPs were causing the congestion. It appears that Netflix cynically held its subscribers hostage to reduced service quality in order to pressure the FCC into adopting favorable Internet regulations that would permanently lower Netflix’s costs of doing business.

Netflix’s plan to frame ISPs for sabotaging its service has been surprisingly successful so far. Some subscribers have blamed their ISPs for the service disruptions Netflix itself caused, which prompted the FCC to open an investigation of the Internet backbone market. Now all Netflix needs is for the FCC to adopt new regulations.

At the very least, Campbell’s post should serve as a reminder that in the current version of the seemingly never-ending “net neutrality debate,” it’s not really little guys vs. big guys, but one big tangled mess of special interests and corporations. All the more reason for the FCC to move forward without extreme caution.

Tuesday, July 08

Job Listing of the Day

By Brad

Enjoy movies and television shows? Currently looking for a job? A new position from Netflix might just be what you’re looking for. Via Sara Gates at the Huffington Post:

The streaming media site is looking for a qualified candidate in the United Kingdom or Ireland to help with its recommendation system by watching movies and TV shows. The Netflix “tagger” chooses from a pool of more than 1,000 descriptive tags to accurately describe the flick from the plot to the overall mood.

Unfortunately, Netflix hasn’t announced plans to hire similar watchers here in America — yet.

Friday, April 12

The Big Stream

By Brad

Streaming video is already big and it’s getting bigger. Case in point: The Huffington Post highlights new numbers from BTIG Research:

BTIG Research’s Richard Greenfield crunched the numbers using facts from previous statements from Hastings and came to the conclusion that subscribers are spending more than 87 minutes a day on Netflix streaming. “Netflix is now likely the most watched cable network, essentially in-line with the Disney Channel,” Greenfield said.

According to BTIG, Hasting’s 4 billion number is a global comment, but the majority of streaming subscribers are in the US. Greenfield guessed there were 28 million Netflix Instant stream users in the first quarter of 2014.

According to Netflix, customers have streamed over 4 billion hours worth of content so far. Which just goes to show that consumer habits are shifting dramatically. All the more reason to get the transition to all-IP networks underway.

Wednesday, January 30

The TV Game

By Brad

A big shift in TV consumption may be afoot, as Jason Del Rey of Ad Age reports a heavy hitter in the online video space may be launching a pay service:

YouTube is prepping to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform in its latest attempt to lure content producers, eyeballs, and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV, according to multiple people familiar with the plans.

On a related note, Nancy Hass of GQ sat down with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and learned about the company’s new foray into original content. Choice quote:

“The goal,” [Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos] says, “is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

Thursday, January 17

Netflix Looking for ISPs to Foot Bill for Fast Lanes


In a post for Multichannel News, titled “In Netflix’s Version of Net Neutrality, It’s Entitled to Non-Neutral Treatment,” Todd Spangler breaks down Netflix’s new push for Internet providers to carry their high volume of traffic:

To Netflix, its Open Connect content delivery network program is an all-around win: By caching frequently accessed (and high bit rate) video in ISPs’ data centers, Netflix saves money on CDN costs; ISPs can cut upstream bandwidth utilization; and end users get a better streaming experience.

Netflix argues that this just makes the Internet better for everyone, and doesn’t cost ISPs a dime since Netflix is footing the bill to install the CDN caches anywhere the providers want.

But some ISPs are chafing at Netflix’s offer. Time Warner Cable has gone on record to complain that it’s unfair for Netflix to hold back “super HD” and 3D content unless a broadband provider plays ball and opens its doors for Netflix’s servers.

Spangler argues Netflix’s actions are anti-competitive, since the company is essentially demanding ISPs cut them a special deal. It also restricts content from certain consumers. As Fred Campbell of the Communications Liberty and Innovation Project (or CLIP), writes:

With its “Open Connect” model, Netflix is withholding content from the customers of ISPs that decline to accede to its demands. Though the details of its demands are unknown, it appears Netflix is requiring that ISPs “peer” with them or pay for the installation of Netflix equipment inside their networks as well as the ongoing costs of operating that equipment.

Like Spangler, Campbell also sees this as a move to reduce competition in the market, especially given Netflix’s increased clout through a recent deal it cut with major content providers:

Netflix recently announced a new multi-year licensing agreement that makes it the “exclusive American subscription TV service for first run live-action and animated features from the Walt Disney Studios.” In addition to Disney-branded content (e.g., The Lion King), the deal includes content produced by Pixar (e.g., Brave), Lucasfilm (e.g., Star Wars), and Marvel (e.g., The Avengers). Netflix also announced a multi-year deal with Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. that includes the Cartoon Network and exclusive distribution rights to TNT’s television series Dallas. As an analyst recently told Ars Technica, “These movies, if you’ve got young kids—you’ve got to have Netflix.”

Barring some sort of advanced technological breakthrough — say, content beamed directly into our heads — streaming video is the future of entertainment. That makes this latest maneuver by Netflix worth paying attention to. As Campbell points out:

Unfortunately, most consumers won’t realize that Netflix is trying to impose its costs on all Internet consumers to gain an anticompetitive price advantage against its over-the-top competitors.

Thursday, November 08

The Netflix Flood

By Brad

At CNet, Don Reisinger highlights a new report showing the effect streaming video service Netflix has on America’s Internet traffic:

Netflix users are turning into the biggest data hogs in North America, a new report suggests.

The report from Sandvine, a company that sells Internet traffic-management systems, finds that Netflix use accounts for 33 percent of all downstream traffic in North America during the peak hours between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. By contrast, Amazon and Hulu only account for 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent of downstream traffic, respectively.

That’s a lot of movies and TV shows.

Friday, July 13

Number of the Day

By Brad

One billion — yes, billion — which is the hours of streaming video Netflix hit last month, according the the company’s CEO Reed Hastings. That’s a lot of data.

Tuesday, February 07

Deal of the Day

By Brad

The online streaming game — currently dominated by Netflix and Hulu — is about to get more crowded, as Verizon and DVD kiosk rental service Redbox have announced a new partnership. As Sinead Carew and Yinka Adegoke of Reuters report:

The venture will combine the Redbox DVD rental kiosk business with an Internet video offering from Verizon, including mobile offerings, in the second half of the year.

Wednesday, January 04

2 Billion

By Brad

That’s how many hours of content Netflix streamed in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, according to a company press release.

Wednesday, May 18

King of the Internet

By Brad

This whole streaming video thing might be taking off. Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Netflix Inc. has become the single biggest source of Internet traffic in North America, leading a surge in digital entertainment that accounts for nearly half of the bytes flowing to online consumers, according to a new report released Tuesday.

According to the report, titled “Global Internet Phenomena,” Netflix is now responsible for 29.7% of downstream traffic in America during peak times — up 44% since last fall.

Monday, March 07

The Internet and Disruptive Business Models

By Brad

Over at CNet, Greg Sandoval has an interesting piece detailing the tricky relationship Hollywood studios have with online streaming juggernaut Netflix:

On previous trips to Hollywood over the past two years, most of the studio executives I spoke with seemed to have a love-hate attitude towards Netflix. Many said they wanted to wait and see how Netflix’s streaming service fared. Some were skeptical that the service could ever draw a large audience without hit films and shows, which they doubted Netflix could afford. At the same time, even Netflix’s biggest critics at the studios were glad to have the company help bid up prices for content.

But since then, Netflix has proven it can acquire both sought-after content as well as a large audience. Netflix’s rapid rise stunned many at the studios and now even former supporters there are wary of Netflix’s growing influence. To make matters worse, Netflix is having some unanticipated impacts on the studio’s businesses.

Monday, October 25


By Brad

That’s how much downstream traffic Netflix is responsible for during peak times (8-10pm) in the United States, according to Sandvine.

Yet more evidence that the future of entertainment is streaming.

Wednesday, July 07

It’s a Good Thing…

By Brad

... online movie site Netflix is already shifting to a streaming video service since, according to NewTeeVee, the coming Postal Service rate hike will cost the company an estimated $50 million a year.

Friday, May 28

A Streaming Future

By Brad

As online video continues to increase in popularity, one of the first companies to embrace the streaming trend is going all-in. From NewTeeVee:

Netflix expects its DVD-by-mail business to peak in 2013, at which point it believes its Watch Instantly streaming service will be driving its growth. That’s the gist of a slideshow posted on the company’s jobs site that details its plans to transform itself into the leading streaming subscription service for TV shows and movies.

Netflix reported 14 million subscribers in the U.S. during the first quarter, and expects to add another three million by the end of 2010.

Tuesday, March 02

A Video Store in Your Pocket

By Brad

Read Write Web reports that online movie giant Netflix isn’t content with leading the pack when it comes to movies by mail and streaming video services. They’re now looking to bring the cinema to a smart phone near you:

Recently, Netflix sent out a survey to select subscribers in order to determine interest in an iPhone application for streaming movies via mobile phones. According to the survey’s wording, the proposed app would be Wi-Fi only and would offer the same content that the Netflix “Watch Instantly” service provides.

Wednesday, January 13

Wii Flix

By Brad

As online movie giant Netflix continues to evolve from mail service to a streaming one, it continues to increase the number of devices that carry it. The latest gadget to embrace streaming movies with the company? Nintendo’s gaming juggernaut Wii.

Thursday, April 02

eCommerce Milestone of the Day

By Brad

Online DVD deliverer Netflix has announced it recently delivered its 2 billionth DVD—and they reached that number in just under 10 years. GigaOm does the math:

Using a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation, that works out to an average of 605,326 DVDs a day or about 25,221 DVDs an hour, 420 DVDs a minute or 7 DVDs every second.

Now that’s impressive.

Wednesday, March 25

Blockbuster and TiVo, Sitting in a Tree…

By Brad

In an attempt to remain competitive with NetFlix, Blockbuster Video has penned a deal with TiVo to bring streaming movie rentals to TVs. Via Ars Technica:

Blockbuster has hopped on the TiVo bandwagon to bring Blockbuster’s digital movie library directly to the popular media center. The companies announced Wednesday that Blockbuster’s OnDemand service would be integrated into TiVo Series 2, Series 3, HD, and HD XL units in order to offer content for rental and purchase. To balance out the deal, TiVo DVRs will be sold at Blockbuster stores throughout the US and on Blockbuster’s website.

Blockbuster CEO Jim Keys elaborated on the companies’ joint plans for the future. “Ultimately, our vision is to work with TiVo so that their subscribers can access movies not only through our OnDemand service but also from our stores and through our by-mail service as well,” Keyes said in a statement. “Regardless of a film’s availability—through VOD or on DVD—we want to work with TiVo to provide their subscribers unprecedented access to movie content.”



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