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Netflix Subscriber Base Eclipses Comcast's 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the streaming-to-the-future dept.
NicknamesAreStupid writes "Netflix just announced its earnings and claims to have more subscribers than Comcast. 'Netflix's global subscriber base grew almost 70% over the past year, to 23.6 million users. ... More than 7% of Americans now subscribe to Netflix.' Does that go to show how great Netflix really is or, well, you know?"
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Netflix Subscriber Base Eclipses Comcast's

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  • superior value (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpiralSpirit (874918) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#35938384)
    obviously, netflix is the far superior value to what most cable companies offer.
    • Re:superior value (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mad-Bassist (944409) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @07:56AM (#35940376) Homepage

      They certainly made me forget about Hollywood Video and Blockbuster back in 1995.

      While their price rose to $19.99/mo this year, I'll always remember them for sending me an e-mail a few years back, saying their rates were going to be lowered from $17.99 to $16.99. There is also the way they like to send an extra "+" movie if something in my queue comes from another part of the country because of the delay.

      Superior value indeed!

      (I killed my cable back in 1999, but that was because most of my entertainment came from reading and writing on the net, as well as the previously mentioned video stores.)

  • by nysus (162232) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#35938388)

    Netflix isn't sucking about $2K/year out of me like Comcast.

    • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:31AM (#35938432) Homepage

      True, but Netflix is going to eventually force Comcast to lower their prices significantly.

      As Netflix offers more TV programming, there may come a tipping point where you don't need Cable TV at all, you could just get all your programming from Netflix. THEN all you need is the broadband service + Netflix. Even though the broadband service might come from Comcast, you don't have to pay the exorbitant rates for the TV channels!

      • by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:46AM (#35938504)
        My tipping point was last year.
      • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:03AM (#35938614) Homepage Journal

        True, but Netflix is going to eventually force Comcast to lower their prices significantly.

        No, that is not true at all. Netflix reaching critical mass is what prompted Comcast to introduce the bandwidth cap. The way Comcast will compete is not by continuing to improve their network, or improving product or cutting prices, but by lowering bandwidth caps further. Comcast is old media which is dabbling in interweb technology. Comcast is not an ISP - at least not in mindset.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If they lower their caps one iota further I will leave.

        • Proof! (Score:3, Insightful)

          The way Comcast will compete is not by continuing to improve their network, or improving product or cutting prices, but by lowering bandwidth caps further.

          See? The free market works! USA! USA!

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        As Netflix offers more TV programming, there may come a tipping point where you don't need Cable TV at all, you could just get all your programming from Netflix. THEN all you need is the broadband service + Netflix. Even though the broadband service might come from Comcast, you don't have to pay the exorbitant rates for the TV channels!

        Yeah, they'll just raise internet prices or institute usage caps and overage charges until the cost is about the same whether you have Comcast Cable Television or use Netflix + with a level of Comcast HSI with enough speed and usage allowance to comfortably operate it.

      • Between Netflix & Hulu Plus, I've got all the TV and movies I can stand to watch. I dropped my cable plan down to local broadcast only and if I don't find a reason to watch any of those channels soon I'll drop the whole shebang.

      • by bjwest (14070)

        And this scares the shit out of the major ISP/cable providers. This is also the reason for the big push for metered broadband. Comcast (or any other cable provider for that matter) will not drop their prices on cable without being able to make it up in their broadband income. And you bet your ass they're in the process of buying the representatives to make it happen.

      • it was about 3 yrs ago I cut the cord to the sat tv system.

        I get some OTA tv (with mythtv and hdhomerun); but mostly its netflix for me.

        much cheaper, better quality, no commercials and I can watch in any format after a simple 'conversion'.

        zero need for pay tv on a cable anymore. I love the fact that I have not had a cable-tv account for over a decade and no sat-tv account for a good 3 years now. plus, any commercials that come thru get zapped at myth-level and anything good gets saved on my HD in cleartex

      • True, but Netflix is going to eventually force Comcast to lower their prices significantly.

        Not true... More than likely, broadcasters and networks will continue to increase the carry fee that they charge Comcast to carry their channel(s). This will force Comcast to continue to increase fees for cable. While Comcast can decrease their profit margin, I think most people realize that Comcast will only do this as a desperate last resort.

        While I am one of the minority of people to cut the cable connection, It will be a very long time before most people do the same. Some people will wrongly assume tha

        • by evilviper (135110)

          . More than likely, broadcasters and networks will continue to increase the carry fee that they charge Comcast to carry their channel(s).

          Comcast is ginormous. So ginormous they can buy up entire networks on a whim. Dish Network had a showdown with Viacom over carry fees, and won. Comcast can do the same, and even better...

          Frankly, it's the cable companies that MAKE the cable networks. If the fees for X are too high, go out and FIND a competior in the same space, throw money and eyeballs at them, and onc

          • There are millions, millions of people who literally only have cable for ESPN. I used to be one of them. Eventually I just accepted that ESPN isn't worth $60 (and more, since Comcast rates are ever-increasing).

            But I agree, it will be a long time before consumers make their own choice, instead of being told "you can't live without ESPN"

      • by drolli (522659)

        *need* cable TV?

        i did not need a TV since 1998. I took no severe mental damage and no severe withdrawal symptoms.

    • It's a different format, but I'm liking the Redbox thing. It's handy and inexpensive, and importantly - commitment free. If you're going to do a rental and it's in your area, give it a try. The website will tell you what movies are available in your area, and which box to get it from. You can return the movie to any box. DVD's are $1, Blu-Ray is $1.50 (per day). If you don't bring the movie back they just ding your card a reasonable retail price and you're done. I hear they're considering video games

      • Games have been in RedBox locations in some areas for a few months now. $2.00/night.

        And yeah, Netflix and Redbox are both awesome. Between them and GameFly, the three of 'em pretty much ate Blockbuster alive.

    • by e4g4 (533831)
      Netflix also isn't providing the pipe upon which they're delivered. Nevertheless - as one paying the same 2k/year to another cable company, I feel your pain.
      • by jroysdon (201893) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:05AM (#35938626) Homepage

        No one provides the pipe end to end. Comcast provides the last mile to the end users and makes money providing Internet access to home users.

        Perhaps Comcast should pay for Netflix's pipes? Just as ridiculous as the other way around.

        Or, how about this - each entity pays for their own pipes. Comcast is an ISP and should provide its customers transit to whatever content they want to. End of story.

        • by hellwig (1325869) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:58AM (#35938882)
          Here Here.

          As I like to point out, for $8/mo not only can Netflix afford to pay the content providers for their content, it can also pay it's own internet bills. Yet supposedly for $45+/mo, local ISPs can't seem to provide enough internet access to home users. Every byte home users pay to download Netflix paid to upload. And if Netflix gets some sort of "bulk deal" on bandwidth (yeah, I don't know how that would work either), you'd think actual ISPs like AT&T and Comcast could get a better deal, yet all the ISPs do is complain about bandwidth and put download limits in place.
          • In some level of fairness, the bandwidth to Netflix is to far fewer locations, where Netflix can move their data to have better bandwidth... ISPs run cable/infrastructure throughout major cities... Bit of a difference.
    • Do what I did, decide you can live without the 2 or 3 cable channels you actually do watch in a month, and save yourself $60 or so

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:34AM (#35938440)
    all this streaming video will force Comcast to raise their monthly limit. 250gb per month might be a lot for some, but not for a house full of video watchers...
    • Re:Maybe someday (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:01AM (#35938584)

      Why would they raise it? If anything they'd lower it, and not just to protect their profits.

      Unicasting content is insanely wasteful. Even with CDNs with good placement (Akamai, etc) that's 1 unicast stream per TV. If you follow this to its logical conclusion and Netflix or some other IPTV provider usurps cable/satellite for subscription channels, what happens the next time Monday Night Football is on ESPN? They're going to stream it to unicast it to 11 million households [zap2it.com], many of whom are going to want to do DVR things like skipping and pausing?

      Multicasting is going to be around for a long, long time still. So long as it does, the cable/fiber/satellite networks are still the gatekeepers; they're not going to embrace IP multicasting when they have a perfectly good system that does the same thing.

      • by SheeEttin (899897)

        Multicasting is going to be around for a long, long time still. So long as it does, the cable/fiber/satellite networks are still the gatekeepers; they're not going to embrace IP multicasting when they have a perfectly good system that does the same thing.

        No, they won't.
        But Netflix might.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        They're going to stream it to unicast it to 11 million households, many of whom are going to want to do DVR things like skipping and pausing?

        Exactly. Which is why IP multicast is and forever will be dead in the water. With unicast I watch exactly what I want, when I want and it doesn't matter if we're watching 11 million different YouTube videos or one sports broadcast. That will just be a special use case compared to all the videos, tv series and other things we watch more or less as it suits ourselves.

        With fiber to the home spreading there is no more "last mile" problem. Here in Norway 12% have their Internet delivered by fiber already (Q2 201

        • The US can be as retarded as they will on cable/dsl monopolies, but the rest of the world isn't going to stop.

          How easily can the rest of the world absorb 300 million refugees from U.S. retardation?

      • Unicasting content is insanely wasteful.

        You give the example of ESPN, and I agree that some form of multicasting is better for live streams where everybody is watching the same scene at the same time. But unicasting is the only way I can see to stream a recorded program on demand and make it seekable (skip/pause) without the half-hour start delays inherent in the sort of pseudo-on-demand seen on satellite TV.

    • by jroysdon (201893)

      Or AT&T's new 150gb/mo. cap for DSL customers (and AT&T's UVerse matching Comcast's 256gb/mo. cap). Both want to kill innovation and stop you from getting your media elsewhere.

      How utterly stupid of them. All the while Google is launching 1gb service in KSK in 2012 to any ISP that dares to use their pipes.

    • they will raise the caps at the same time introducing a new pricing structure that just happens to be the equivalent to buying internet and cable TV from them.

      Just a note about how screwed up Comcast is

      When I wanted basic cable (local channels and some chaff) it was a royal pain to get this from Comcast at the price shown on their internet site. I called the number on my bill and was told it was $23.95 for basic cable though their website showed $12.95. After trying two levels of phone support I initiated a

  • by mykos (1627575) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:41AM (#35938478)
    Watch as Comcast and other ISPs claim how much HD film watchers are "degrading the quality of their networks".
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:43AM (#35938488)
    The problem today is that at least in the US most broadband providers are TV providers also. The telecos who don't have a TV network have even gotten on board with "bundles" including DirecTV and Dish. They are smarter than consumers give them credit for though. You might think your poor service is proof of their incompetence- your wrong... sooo wrong. They will do anything to maintain a baseline of service that is merely tolerable because raising the bar costs them money and frankly where the hell will you go? To the other massive evil teleco/cable, overpriced wireless (3G/4G) or satellite? Dial-up perhaps? Of course not, they've got you buy the nuts. So expect Comcast's already pathetic 250 gig limit (even for 100$ monthly subscribers BTW) to go down (in GB per month), AT&T and Verizon are sure to follow (shocking!!). In the end, if they have their way, you will be able to watch Netflix, but it will cost in bandwidth fees nearly as much as it would cost to rent- with their respective pay-per-view fees. With today's government oversight and teleco mentality could it end any other way?
    • by mcrbids (148650)

      Although I'm a mostly happy Comcast customer at home, my company is also a large customer of a local WISP, giving them 40x what Comcast makes on my home connection.

      I only use Comcast for Internet so that I can get to Hulu/Netflix. If/when Comcast becomes a problem, I'll switch to the WISP which is growing like gangbusters and offers speeds comparable to my Comcast.

    • I agree with you, but one of your facts is incorrect.

      It is not available in every market, but AT&T offers digital tv (over IP) that competes with cable. It is owned by AT&T and not a branded satellite product. (AT&T offers this in parts of Georgia and I am sure they offer it elsewhere.)

      In addition I know that Verizon offers a similiar IP-based tv service in parts of New Jersey.

    • Of course not, they've got you buy the nuts.

      Leggo! I can't afford new ones!

  • by BlueF (550601) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:44AM (#35938498)

    Netflix is a great STEP in the right direction...

    I'm far from alone in saying -- until we can access content, on AND offline, from any device, and for a reasonable price -- entertainment industry is far from where it needs be!

  • I'm not fan of \any plug-in that makes compatibility harder with non so called "mainstream" OS's, but I do use an occasional utilize Mac or PC when at a friends's home to watch a film and can't help but notice it seems like the only use for MS Silverlight on the planet. If nothing else 7%+ of American PC's with Silverlight installed is pretty big for a product that has thus far felt like a massive failure. I can't for the world of me see how Adobe, Apple, or even Real or one of the other plug-in pushers di
    • I routinely watch Netflix streams via 5 different devices, and not one of them requires MS Silverlight. I view on an AppleTV, a Tivo HD, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and occasionally a Wii.

      This is not the big win for Silverlight you think it is. This is proof that Netflix streaming is being built into more and more consumer devices. If the only way I could view their streams was via my PC, I wouldn't bother... I'd just stick with the disc mailers.
  • They'd have probably been sued by the movie industry if they tried to "Rent" movies online if they didn't do a physical DVD rental first. Even if they had one copy per every movie they rented out, they'd still probably would have been sued and lost.
  • I have no cable service and watch Netflix almost exclusively (plus some over the air channels), but Comcast still gets 4 times more money from me than Netflix because they provide my high speed internet.

    I wouldn't be surprised to find that Comcast earns more profit from me as a internet-only subscriber than they would if I were a cable subscriber.

  • No Shit Sherlock (Score:4, Informative)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:03AM (#35938612) Homepage Journal

    I, like many others dropped Comcast Cable like the flaming turd it was a couple years ago and went with Digital Antenna + Tivo for HD local network broadcast. I still use Comcast for my internet connection via Comcast Business, but hey.. that's a tax write-off. They give me decent enough upstream (10Mbps) that I can host servers, and higher than advertised downstream (I usually get about 24Mbps) with no bandwidth throttling.

    HBO is run by shitheads who pretend that P2P lawsuits are an effective deterrent and somehow think their offering is enough to keep people bound to Comcast Cable. Well HBO: FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR GO SERVICE.

    I pirate HBO's shows because HBO wont let me get their shows with an iTunes purchase, they wont put them on Netflix and they seem to think I'll happily bend over and let them and Comcast have their way with my anal sphincter. But I wont -- the shitfest that is Cable TV is not worth $100.00 a month. So fuck you HBO and fuck your GO service. I hope you and Comcast and Viacom die the painful and agonizing death you deserve

    • Just throwing this out there. You know you can watch [hbogo.com] HBO online now, right? While it doesn't have the accessibility of Netflix, it's some step in the right direction. Just let this sink in for a bit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by massysett (910130)

      No, you pirate HBO's shows because you want something for nothing. They produce expensive content and you expect it to be on your Netflix which costs only $8 a month. You're just an unprincipled person who wants the fine entertainment HBO produces (obviously you like it or you wouldn't go to the trouble to obtain it illegally) yet you don't want to pay for it. Actually you like HBO, all while you are ranting FUCK YOU HBO. Well, I'm sure HBO has some choice words for you too.

      I have no respect for sniveling p

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:12AM (#35938678)

    A few weeks back, I finally got around to sending back the DVD that I had been holding for about the last six months, having never once been hassled, harassed, or charged extra by Netflix for holding onto it for so long. Two days later, Netflix let me know that they had sent me film X from my DVD Queue.

    "Hmm," I said to myself. "Wasn't X #2 on my queue? Well, no matter, I must be confused since I was rearranging it the other day."

    Before film X had even arrived, Netflix notified me that X had been my #2, but that they had tracked down a copy of film Y, which was the actual #1 on my queue, and as a result, they would go ahead and send me a copy of that as well, despite the fact that I only had the plan that allows for one DVD at a time. They sent it out at no extra charge to me, and the two arrived on back-to-back days. It was great. It may have been a simple thing, but I hadn't had a company treat me so well in quite awhile. Despite that, it was the sort of thing that seemed natural with Netflix, since everything they do is so oriented around the customer.

    It was with great sadness that I temporarily suspended my account the day after sending the videos back, since I needed to spend less time viewing films in my Instant Queue and more time on my graduate research. Even in that however, Netflix was great and continues to be great. They let me suspend it for up to three months, charge me nothing during that time, allow me to manage my queues and rate movies while my account is suspended, don't harass me to come back, and give me immediate access to a button for if I do want to close my account entirely. Compare that to Facebook, which makes deactivating your account a chore, places access to the feature in an out of the way location in your settings, only offers to deactivate but not delete your account, and swindles you into reactivating it if you simply log in.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to being done with my research and back in the embracing arms of Netflix in a few months. Chalk me up as a fanboy.

    As for a story of great customer service from Comcast...

    Umm...

    Yeah, I got nothing. My latest experience with them involved 2-5 minute Internet outages that happened a few times every hour while I was visiting with my parents for the Easter holiday. I'm glad Comcast doesn't have a stranglehold over my area yet.

    • Yeah, before the online streaming,I'd cancelled my account with them. Only sent an email every 3+ months, not two a week like some (Hi dell). No hassles, no deluge of spam. Compare that to trying to drop one of three radios on XM, took thrree calls into a 45+ minute hold queue, two dropped calls, by the time I was done, cancelled them all... No XM/Serious ever again.
    • by SlamMan (221834)
      Your comparison to facebook is somewhat off base. Since you don't pay anything, its hard to say they're 'swindling' you by reactivating your free account when you log into it. Also, since you're not paying anything you're not thier customer. You're the product they sell to other people.
    • Customer Service, which Netflix actually cares about, is one of the main reasons why I continue to espouse their greatness. Compared to the other digital entertainment providers, Netflix is a Knight in Shining Armour.
  • Just for the reason that I do have Comcast. And I do agree they will probably lower the GB cap eventually, and when/if they do, I will just stop streaming and go back to DVDs. Either ripping or buying. You know, like the old days. Or maybe Netflix will start their own ISP, or buy Comcast.
  • Wtf is going on with the mindless cheer leading. Am I the only slash dot reader with a basic grasp of fundamentals research into companies. The main reason they have been so successful is that they managed to snare most ofof their content licenses at low low rates because the studios thought they were cute and harmless. most of their agreements expire this or next year. I hate big content as much as you all but let's be realistic the war has just begun and big content has a fuckload of cards left

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