In the early 80’s I use to work part-time for a little company that use to sale and rent video tapes via regular mail. Back then, the internet was, to the masses, still unheard of and very few people owned a VCR. Fast forward 17 years, a little corporation in Los Gatos California (very nice place by the way) started a similar business renting movies via snail mail. People laughed, who could compete against well established players like Blockbuster? Well my friends, that little company enjoyed a 200% return on its stock in 2010 (sadly, I am not a holder). That company happens to be Netflix. Its CEO, Reed Hastings, was touted as the Business person of the year by Fortune magazine. Netflix entered the Canadian Market last September and for about 8 bucks, you get their “all you can eat” version of TV watching. Sure, you don’t have all the titles and the selection is limited to what is released on DVD, but, seeing that most movies are now available a couple of months after they are released on the big screen, 8$ is amazingly cheap.
When I compare this to the 16 bucks my local cable operator charges me for an almost similar offering, well, I feel a little cheated! I would love to switch to Netflix and stream movies directly from my kids Wii gaming console, but (there had to be one!) unlimited internet is not available! Therefore, my puny 40GB monthly cap is starting to feel like a 5$ allowance when the theater fee is 7$.
Somehow, somewhere, some businessman will figure out the proper ratio of bandwidth access versus the digital rights of tv/film viewing. But, alas, as we have seen in the news last week, I won’t be holding my breath!
I am “holding out for a hero” with the magic formula.