Netflix is planning to roll out a Web-based streaming video service some time in 2008.
On Netflix's earnings conference call, which was quite positive given the company's results, CEO Reed Hastings outlined the upcoming service for the Mac and what has taken so long.
Today, Netflix is streamed to Windows PCs only. We’ve been very happy with the viewing of our content by our subscribers, particularly our younger subscribers. Web-based video viewing is becoming mainstream, as a wide range of content companies make their content easily accessible on the web. We hope in 2008 to be able to support web-based viewing on the Macintosh also. The hold-back has been a lack of a DRM solution on the Mac.
Translation: Settle the DRM issue and you have Web streaming on your Mac.
That Mac tidbit from the Netflix conference call was notable, but there were other nuggets worth noting. Netflix reported fourth quarter net income of $15.8 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $302.4 million. Those results were ahead of estimates. The company also raised its outlook.
Among the notable points:
The competitive landscape. Hastings said Blockbuster Online remains a threat, but also singled out Redbox, a DVD kiosk operator. Hastings called Redbox a "double edged sword" that could be a threat, but could also be a real pain for Blockbuster. Dinging Blockbuster would help Netflix. Netflix's model is the difference. Hastings noted that Apple's movie rentals are similar to cable video on demand. Other internet video services have similar economics. The difference for Netflix is the DVD rentals as a service approach.
As we grow a larger and larger DVD rental subscriber base, our ability to offer both online streaming and DVD rental at one low cost means that we have a great advantage over any stand alone Internet delivery service − at least for the next ten years, while DVD is so significant.