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Sleeping With the Enemy

30 Apr, 2014 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I must confess, for years I have put off getting Netflix, despite my kids’ ardent requests, because I have seen the subscription rental service — particularly its movie-streaming — as an enemy of our industry. I have bought into the notion that Netflix cannibalizes sellthrough, the lifeblood of the home entertainment business, and insisted my kids watch every single DVD and Blu-ray Disc I’ve got socked away all over the house before I feed such a destructive beast that threatens the livelihood of the entire home entertainment universe, including Home Media Magazine.

A few weeks ago, I relented — or, rather, the boys teamed up with Mom and signed us up on her credit card — and I must say, I have completely changed my mind. We’re still watching new movies as they come out on disc, at the rate of two or three a week.

What’s changed is that we are no longer watching any network or even cable TV.

There’s lots of good old movie and TV stuff on Netflix — very similar to what’s on cable — so when the kids are in the mood for some channel surfing, they browse Netflix instead of the cable menu or what they’ve DVR’d. Last weekend Conner and Hunter binged on “Family Guy,” just as they do most Sunday afternoons after particularly heavy sports Saturdays — but instead of watching the animated show on the DVR, they watched it on Netflix.

And while our hunger for new movies go down a little in the coming weeks as we continue to explore the wonderful world of Netflix — last night I even set up my own channel, consisting mostly of cheesy horror movies I never got around to picking up on disc — I’ve already assembled a play pile of The Counselor and several other recent Blu-ray Disc releases, hot new stuff Netflix won’t be getting for a while.

So yes, cannibalization is occurring — but not, necessarily, where one might think. And from my conservations with several high-ranking studio executives who have admitted to me, privately, that they, too, have become Netflix households, it appears we’re all having the same experience.
Here’s to sleeping with the enemy. 

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