Netflix Goes Online

Jan 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Netflix joined the crowded online delivery business today with the news that it plans to introduce over the next six months a new service that lets consumers watch TV shows and movies online. That adds to Netflix’s already strong position with its DVD-by-mail service.

The new feature will be free for subscribers and will be automatically added to their services. Netflix currently offers more than 70,000 titles in its mail catalog and will introduce the online service with about 1,000 movies and TV shows. The initial rollout will include content from NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, A&E Television Networks, Anime Network, The Independent Film Channel, Starz Digital and others.

Netflix enters a busy market, with entrants like iTunes, AOL Video and Amazon already in the fray. But Netflix brings its strength in the movie rental business. Also, Netflix said it will continue to focus on the rental segment with its new offering, rather than download-to-own or ad-supported delivery, as others are doing.

The service allows immediate viewing and does not require users to wait for the entire download of a movie or video. Most videos should begin playing in about 10 to 15 seconds, Netflix said. Once the service is available to a customer during the phased roll-out, users can watch videos by clicking on a “Watch Now” tab on their home page.