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From Hits To Flix: Five Ways Spotify’s Model Could Improve Netflix

By 10.07.11

The emergence of broadband, larger hard drives and DVD-R drives among other ripping devices put the home video market in a headlock. Well-to-do users and basement dwellers alike rejoiced when shows hit their favorite sites hours after airing and watching free flicks at the house made movie nights seem obsolete. Then Netflix became a force by doing the near impossible. Millions of subscribers over the years paid to stream and rent movies in droves when customers stood mere searches away from getting the same content for free. Netflix’s success, despite its recent fallout over a price hike, shows people want to quickly watch movies and TV Shows with a clear user interface. Nothing’s without faults though and the little red service that could has a few glaring issues. So who can Hastings n’ em consult to strengthen their brand? Spotify.
Spotify came from meager beginnings in 2006 to becoming a standard in streaming music via its standalone player’s easy UI featuring millions of songs. The Swedish company’s success overseas and stateside hasn’t been a mistake even though they’ve had their fair share of miscues along the way. Nevertheless, Netflix could bear to emulate some of Spotify’s practices towards becoming a better avenue for TV and movie streaming. The emergence of both services shows there’s a market for platforms embracing entertainment over the internet. Yet the younger competitor, in this case, could bear to show the old dog a few tricks of the trade.
Goodness gracious, expand the library… — Netflix’s selection has steadily grown over the years but it still leaves so much to be desired. You can’t rely on it to stay current with running TV shows and David D. can only watch so much bad black cinema as it is. Of course Hollywood politics and licensing issues deny Netflix from broadening their content. Spotify’s massive collection eclipses Netflix’s multiple times over. But it comes as no surprise that Spotify’s partial ownership from record labels allows them to offer millions of songs. Having Netflix meet the same fate could set an ominous precedent. If selling part of the company to “the man” nets much more product then so be it. I just want to instantly watch Martin, Fresh Prince, 40 Year Old Virgin and Coming To America all in one place.
…and be quick about it! — Title adoption on Netflix is slower than the line at your local DMV. Spotify has Tuesday’s latest up and running mostly in a few days if not sooner. Netflix could’ve addressed this problem quicker if they hadn’t signed bogus 30-day waiting period deal with various studios. And its recent agreement with Dreamworks states movies from the studio will appear on the site…in 2013. Content makers are obviously wary to hand over their work to the service unless they agree on ridiculous terms. But damn, it’s like Netflix employed Billy Hunter negotiate these stilted contracts. Once again, giving up shares to major studios could relieve this problem because, despite Netflix’s user base, studios aren’t so willing to play ball.
Include a buy option for online content — Some people rather own their entertainment rather than deal with their movies hopping out of their queue. Spotify lets subscribers listen and buy DRM free songs and albums to put on whatever device they please. Imagine how much headway Netflix could make if they follow suit. They already have the content and millions of folks’ credit cards. Add them with fair prices and the company would get a gang of impulse buys. Unlimited re-downloads for bought items, something Spotify doesn’t offer, would be the icing on the cake.
DON’T force Facebook logins for new users — Anti-social networks are all the rage but that doesn’t necessitate people to use them just to watch flicks or play some records. Social networks’ ubiquity has gotten obnoxious to the point where, if you allow, people will use them to them to be all in your viewing history. Honestly it’s my business if I want to watch The Cosby Show Chappelle’s show before I take it down. Spotify’s recent Facebook requirement gaffe ought to let Netflix higher ups know that solely aligning with Zuckerberg’s dream machine isn’t the move. So yeah, keep all that social networking nonsense over there.
Offer more at a low subscription price — Spotify offers you a world of music with no ads starting at five bucks a month. Pay five more and you can add playlists on a supported mobile device. Netflix’s new subscription model isn’t nearly as flexible and the price hike didn’t come with a larger repository of flicks. Perhaps Netflix could offer a free ad based tier to lure former and new subscribers? Such an incentive could make signing up to the streaming provider more enticing since it gets new, worthwhile media at a snails pace.


TOPICS#NETFLIX
TAGSGADGETSLISTSMUSICSMOKE BREAKspotifyTV/Movies

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