[opendtv] Re: Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:21:08 -0500

On Feb 19, 2014, at 6:20 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
<albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Why Craig! I thought it was obvious! The article was funny because we knew we 
> were going to get a defensive reaction from you! And we did.

So now you have premonitions...


Can you tell how I will react to your next post?
>> How can there be "too much ala carte?"
> I'm just repeating myself, but I'll go ahead. People LIKE some measure of 
> bundling. People LIKE to pay a flat rate for all the telephone minutes they 
> might want. People LIKE not to feel like they are being nickeled and dimed 
> for everything they do. Apple charges a ridiculously high amount for just one 
> show or movie. So that model is not going to attract buyers, unless they are 
> after something specific.

O.K. I get what you are saying.

People like what they consider to be a good deal. Obviously Netflix is 
appealing to people, although the jury is still out on how good a deal they 
offer. I'm not sure we are getting $7.99/mo in value from it, however, if they 
add more original content and improve the movie selection (more current) it 
should be worth the price. I'm certain that our cable is not a good deal.

The rap on ala carte, at least the storyline from the MVPDs is that it will 
cost more than the bundles. I suspect that this will depend to a large extent 
on personal tastes and the number of viewers in the household.

Personally, I do not think we should pay a fee for any programming filled with 
commercials, although I might pay $3 -5/mo for ESPN. I'll pay a bit more for 
programming without commercials.

> TV, radio, and the Internet, grew popular specifically because they don't 
> nickel and dime the users to death. They evolved that way from day 1. So, a 
> scheme like iTunes, which attempts to revert back to pre-industrial business 
> models, is not going to appeal to everyone. People will always look for 
> another option, and the Netflix and Hulu Plus models are more in line with 
> how these media evolved. Even if, on those special occasions when they're 
> looking for some specific title, they go and visit iTunes.

Yes, in the early days this was true, and still is for broadcast radio. But 
things changed when most people subscribed yo a MVPD service. And now most of 
us pay subscriber fees AND see more commercials than ever.

iTunes is what it is...a store.

You can buy movies and TV shows just as you can at Walmart or Target, but have 
the convenience of not having to go to a store, or to store the shiny discs. 
The movie rental prices are comparable to other VOD services for first run 
movies. As of last June Apple said that 350,000 movies were downloaded daily. 

It may be a "pre industrial business model, but Apple is making a good profit 
from all of its online stores. Revenues are more than $7 billion per quarter, 
and the iTunes portion of Apple's revenues are now about 50% of the revenues 
Google generates from its search business. More important, iTunes revenues are 
grew 34% year over year in the last quarter. 
And remember, Apple makes a decent profit on every business they are in. 
Netflix just had its most profitable quarter $48 million on $1.18 billion in 

> If they want to survive long term, none of your options. They have to compete 
> against Internet distribution of TV. You stubbornly hold on to this belief 
> that "lucrative bundles" will last for all of eternity. The truth is, SOME 
> KIND of bundling might very well survive long term, BUT NOT the bundles that 
> are optimized to the old MVPD walled garden topologies. MVPD bundles today 
> only make sense within that walled garden context. They benefit the MVPD 
> broadcast walled garden more than they benefit the owner of the content.
They will be one of the primary distributors of Internet TV. 

Get off of the blatant misrepresentation that I believe bundles will last for 
all of eternity. I have consistently said that they will not go away in this 
decade and may survive for another decade.

And you are wrong about who benefits from the bundles. It is both the content 
congloms AND The MVPDs

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