Last night I read on CNN Money that “Netflix stock plunges as Starz ends contract talks”. It struck me that this is exactly inverse to what I would expect! If I had stock in Starz, I would have pulled it.
When Starz makes a bold move to pull all it’s content from Netflix, I think, “What a stupid move!”. With the bounty of video entertainment already overflowing from every convenient digital device I own, how would I even notice that content specific to Starz was missing? If 50% of all my video options disappeared tomorrow, I would still have more than enough to watch, without digging further into the already enormous libraries from Netflix, Apple, Hulu and many others!
I gave up cable TV long ago, and now have a Netflix instant Queue of over 300 items to watch. My Netflix DVD queue is just over 250 titles that I would rather stream, but can’t. I also have things in a Hulu queue to watch, and a good list of web links for sites I enjoy watching video content from. And finally, there is video content in my iTunes library that I have yet to watch as well. This is clearly more than I will ever have time to actually watch, and it doesn’t include shows my friends will recommend to me, things I find at my local library, time I spend on YouTube, etc.
I think this holds true for most media. My entire life I’ve known that I will never be able to read all the books I would like to, even if I could read an entire book each night. But that doesn’t stop me from reading, it just stops me from reading the hard to find and expensive books, because I already have so many equally great reads at my fingertips.
Companies that hold content need to realize that we can all get thousands more movies, books, games, songs, et than we could ever actually enjoy in one lifetime, all for a very low monthly all-I-can-eat buffet price. Content owners will soon realize that they face the same challenge musicians do today, where obscurity is a far, far bigger threat than piracy or earning less than a premium fee for each view.
Convenience trumps quality every time (sadly), so even more important than making great shows and movies is being in the right place at the right time. And for video, that means Starz needs to be on Netflix, at any cost.