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Netflix planning to launch lower cost, streaming-only service in the US

10.21.2010

And the move towards no more physical media continues...

The LA Times today is reporting that Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced that the steadily growing video rental company "is looking to offer a new lower-cost plan through which subscribers could access movies and TV shows solely online." The move by Netflix comes just as the company, for the first time ever, will actually be delivering more hours of content via online access than over physical discs. Netflix is apparently now spending more money on its streaming service as well. A large part of that is the recent five-year, $1 billion deal with premium cable channel Epix, which is providing content from the libraries of Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM.

Our Canadian brethren already began enjoying the streaming-only service last month (for only $7.99 a month), and it's been thus far considered a success. This has led the company to test an identical service in the US. The LA Times says, "If the test fares well, all consumers will be able to sign up for streaming-only service. Hastings did not identify a price, but it is likely to be the same as it is in Canada." Netflix, of course, would continue to offer its current disc rental packages (which include streaming).

So, here are the big questions that I feel are only going to get bigger in the near future: Do you even have to own that movie you really love, or would you be more than content being able to access it as a rental at any time you want, practically anywhere you are, provided you pay a nominal monthly fee? Is "ownership" an essential element in consuming a form of entertainment?
Extra Tidbit: I have a pretty hefty collection of films at home, but it's a collection that hasn't had many new additions in the last couple of years...

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