Netflix Not As Flix-y Anymore

If you haven’t heard by now, the popular streaming service Netflix has reached the end of their deal with the Starz! movie channel as of February 28th, 2012. To knock that down to movie terms – Netflix just lost over 1,000 movies from their library that the Starz! Network brought to the table. For those that saw my weekend entertainment post last week, where I had crammed several movies into my time off, that is why.

CNBC Article: Netflix Losing Starz Play

What are they going to do now? Well, Netflix is working on delivering their own original programming, for one. Their first release is a series called Lilyhammer, starring Steven Van Zandt, that details Zandt’s characters life after he is forced to go against the mob. Will people watch? More importantly, will I watch? After all, Netflix seems to be taking the chance most cable networks have already done by creating their own series. HBO, Showtime and Starz all have gone out on the ledge and been pretty successful. More open cable networks, like USA, Comedy Central and even MTV have their own exclusive series. But Netflix … Netflix isn’t a cable channel, they are an online streaming service and physical dvd rental company.

Online news articles from various corners of the web say exclusive channel rights elude Netflix, while networks and movie companies want to squeeze every cold hard penny out of the company for rights to stream their material. I can’t help but feel a price increase is on the horizon if we begin to demand more recent streaming movie releases from the service. Then again, Netflix has another plan they seem to be hoping will change our viewing habits and calm any fears. If you haven’t noticed, there are now a huge boat load of television series, documentaries and such available for instant streaming.

Entire seasons of television series are available on Netflix, even more recent episodes of Dr. Who have recently shown up on the streaming feed for the just wrapped season with Matt Smith’s Doctor. Sons of Anarchy, Weeds, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, Star Trek Voyager, Firefly, series from the ID Channel detailing crimes, several Law & Order series. Thousands of television shows are available. Will these be more attractive for subscribers? If you stream a movie, you get an hour or two of entertainment and then it is over. But if you find a television series you like, you could be looking at several seasons of content, with each season having a dozen or more episodes for our viewing pleasure!

So, should we care if Starz! pulled their programming? Should be upset that HBO won’t allow Game of Thrones or East Bound & Down to be shown on the service? Even Dexter was pulled from streaming by Showtime, though we have several seasons of Weeds readily available. Who makes these decisions, I wonder? We are losing movies, but gaining television shows. There are also attempts to target children, since content is available through gaming consoles now, including the Nintendo Wii. So not only should adults be covered, but kids have a wide selection of entertainment as well.

No matter what we may think of the deal, it is done and over. Some of the movies we will no longer be able to view include Toy Story 3, Tron Legacy, Scarface, Let Me In, and the series Spartacus. All I can say to Netflix is: I will continue giving you my little $8 + tax a month as long as you deliver me some quality entertainment that meets my taste. But I’ll not hesitate to drop it if they begin to fumble and drop the ball. After all, there’s always Hulu Plus … ugh …

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