Saturday, October 10, 2009

Netflix boss says DVD has two years left

The days of building your DVD collection may be coming to an end sooner than you think. If Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' comments are any guide, the DVD era may be set to come to a rather abrupt halt. The Audio interview can be heard here.

Specifically, Hastings said in an interview with The Motley Fool website that DVD will only be the "primary delivery format" at the company for the next two years, though he did add that it would stick around in some fashion for the next decade or two. That's a huge pull back from Hastings' previous prognostication; the Netflix boss had formerly predicted DVD would remain the company's primary format until as late as 2018.

Strangely, Hastings didn't note what would supplant DVD as the company's major movie format, but considering that Blu-ray remains a niche product, with 10 percent penetration or lower among most consumers, he's probably talking about streaming.

Netflix has embraced video streaming in a major way in recent years, and its $99 set-top box remains the method I use to watch more streaming content than any other, outside of the occasional YouTube clip, anyway. (And yes, I know the Xbox-Netflix combo is undoubtedly popular with a huge number of people, too, at least those who don't futilely shun and fear video game consoles.)

Netflix continues to expand its streaming options -- about 20 percent of my queue is now available for streaming, up from roughly 8 percent a year ago -- but Hollywood keeps resisting, much as Big Media did in the early days of digital music downloads. Is Netflix hinting that more studios are climbing aboard the digital bandwagon? And at what point does streaming hit enough of a critical mass to become the dominant movie delivery method? 50 percent of titles available to stream? 80 percent? It's hard to see those kinds of numbers panning out in a mere two years... but maybe Hastings has tricks up his sleeve that we're only just now starting to hear about.

Source: Yahoo Tech