Have U.S. Internet users’ worst fears just been realized? A new report from iScan Online programmer David Raphael claims to confirm that Verizon, which you might recall helped lead the charge against net neutrality regulations, has begun limiting the bandwidth utilized by certain websites for its FiOS Internet subscribers. In a blog post on Wednesday, Raphael shared a troubling account of issues that his company had been experiencing with service slowdowns. After digging into the problem he finally contacted Verizon customer support, which seemingly confirmed that the ISP is throttling bandwidth used by some cloud service providers including Amazon AWS, which supports huge services including Netflix and countless others. As BGR has learned, however, this is in fact not the case. More →
Netflix’s original shows are very good but the company still hasn’t produced anything that’s on par with HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Sopranos or The Wire… not yet, at least. Variety reports that Netflix plans to raise $400 million that it will plug into its original shows, which so far have included hit series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Netflix will raise the cash by issuing debt, although the company is quick to point out that it still has a very modest debt-to-equity ratio even after it’s issued hundreds of millions of dollars in 10-year senior notes. Variety doesn’t give any information about what kinds of shows Netflix plans to produce with the $400 million earmarked for new content but given that it cost the company $100 million to produce the first season of House of Cards, we imagine that it’s got some pretty spectacular ideas in mind.
Netflix plans to extend its presence in Europe this year, The Wall Street Journal has learned, targeting various markets including Germany and France, the fourth and sixth largest broadband markets in the world, respectively, according to SNL Kagan. The researcher also revealed that Western Europe had 134 million broadband homes at the end of 2013, while the U.S. only had 88 million – thus, growth in the video streaming business in Western Europe is expected to surpass global demand, with revenue expected to reach $1.1 billion in 2017, making the region a very interesting proposition for Netflix. More →
For the past year, Netflix has been experimenting with different pricing schemes. Back in December, Netflix began offering a $6.99 plan that was standard-definition and only allowed streaming to one screen. This was $1 less than the more common $7.99 plan, which streams in high-definition to two screens. In addition, Netflix has had a family plan since last April at $11.99, which allows for streaming up to four screens. More →
In a move that shocked no one, a United States appeals court hammered the final nail into net neutrality’s coffin last week. Also not particularly shocking was the revelation that the government regulators responsible for killing net neutrality are now high-paid cable industry lobbyists. That’s Washington for you. What might come as something of a surprise, however, is that the biggest hope of preventing Internet service providers from destroying the Web as we know it today may in fact be Netflix. More →
The NPD Group released a study this week that showed the steady decline of premium channel subscribers over the past two years. NPD Group analyst Russ Crupnick explained that many consumers are attempting to save money by replacing premium channels with streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, but according to an HBO spokesman, NPD’s “research is simply incorrect.” More →
Yes, it seems that Netflix is doing OK for itself. The company on Wednesday announced that it added 2.33 million streaming subscribers in the United States over the fourth quarter of 2013, which brings its total number of domestic streaming subscribers to 33.4 million. Netflix is forecasting similarly strong subscriber growth in Q1 2014, as it expects to add 2.25 million more streaming subscribers domestically and 1.6 million streaming subscribers internationally. Ever modest, however, Netflix says that it can’t take all the credit for the strong growth: Rather, the company says that it’s benefitted from “the tailwind of Internet video growth in general.” Indeed, Netflix notes that even Hulu managed to grow its paid subscribers by 65% year-over-year despite having a whopping three CEOs in 2013.
For every winner there’s usually a loser and in the case of the big net neutrality verdict handed down on Tuesday, the biggest loser might not be the Federal Communications Commission. Bloomberg talks with several analysts who believe that Netflix and other other-the-top content providers look like the biggest losers in the net neutrality ruling because now ISPs will be able to charge them extra money to make sure that their traffic is given priority over ISPs’ own services. More →
The success of Netflix’s original series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black has been terrific for TV viewers. Not only has it given us more quality shows to watch but it’s also given studios more of an incentive to develop high-quality shows that they think might become hits on Netflix. Forbes’ Dorothy Pomerantz, however, thinks that this boom in high-quality Netflix content might be too good to last because Netflix’s economic model might not deliver the same long-term revenues that syndication typically delivers. More →
Netflix is cruising into a hugely ambitious 2014 regarding original content. The glossy political thriller “House of Cards” is getting a new season shot in HD and featuring top shelf cast members like Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey. The Wachowski siblings are prepping a mind-bendingly ambitious sci-fi series featuring an Icelandic party girl, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger. Hollywood mid-brow super producers, the Weinstein brothers, are bringing in a Marco Polo project. A gritty drug drama called “Narcos” is expected to echo themes of ”Traffic.” And the quirky blockbuster series of the summer of 2013, “Orange is the New Black,” will get a new season. More →
Netflix has kicked off a new promotion that offers a standard-definition streaming service for $6.99, or $1 less than the popular $7.99 basic service, AdWeek reports. There seem to be two caveats beyond the standard definition limitation: The lower price is offered only to new customers and it only supports streaming to a single device at a time. More →
We Americans like to think of ourselves as No. 1 at everything but there’s at least one area where multiple studies have shown that we’re lagging far behind: In broadband speeds. The newest numbers from Netflix once again paint the United States as a land of mediocrity when it comes to broadband service, as the average connection speed for American Netflix users trails far behind the average connection speed for European users in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and all of Scandinavia. With an average connection speed of just 1.9Mbps, U.S. Netflix users still fare better than their counterparts in Ireland (1.79Mbps average connection) and Mexico (1.77Mbps average connection). Netflix regularly releases data on which ISPs deliver the fastest speeds as a way of letting its users know which of their options are best for video streaming.
The Netflix-HBO rivalry has recently gone global as both of the content giants have targeted some northern European countries for international expansion. New numbers out of Sweden show just how comprehensively Netflix is hammering HBO in the early innings. Swedish research firm MMS has published its most recent numbers for the September-October period showing that Netflix reaches an estimated 308,000 daily viewers while HBO Nordic captures a paltry 17,000 daily viewers. More →