Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Yes: Big gain
No: More pain
Best Argument: Yes: Big gain
Netflix will be a winner despite itself
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Has Netflix made some really dumb moves? You betcha. The combination of a big increase in rates with the bone-headed move of trying to split its video service into two lead to the company losing 800,000 subscribers. But, even after this fiasco Netflix will still end up a winner.
Why? Because even with Google exploring commercial video on YouTube, upstarts like Crackle and CinemaNow, and Hulu and individual networks moving content online, and its CEO's burst of idiocy, Netflix still has 28-million paying customers. They don't.
With the exception of the Apple TV, every device out there that plays Internet video—DVRs, DVD players, tablets, Roku Streaming Player—come ready to play Netflix video. So, besides Netflix's customer base, Netflix also has the best hardware penetration. There's a reason why Netflix alone takes up more Internet bandwidth than any other Internet service. Note, I said “Internet service” not video service.
The simple truth is that Netflix still doesn't have any real competition.
Netflix: More Pain Ahead
There is simply too much money to be made and too much technology ready for the viewing for startups not to enter the fray and further degrade Netflix' position.