Culture

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
copyright, culture, downloads, licensing, movies

Companies:
epix, netflix



Netflix Keeps Losing Mainstream Movies, Informs Users They Should Be Ok With That Because Of Adam Sandler

from the painful-evolution dept

As broadcaster licensing squeezes Netflix ever tighter, you've probably noticed that the streaming company continues to lose higher-end, popular television and film content at an annoying rate. The latest such shift occurred when Netflix last week refused to extend its licensing agreement with Epix, resulting in Netflix customers losing access to mainstream films like Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and The Wolf of Wall Street. Epix then proceeded to strike a deal with both Hulu and Amazon, who'll now be carrying those titles instead.

Such deals are at the heart of Netflix's permission culture dilemma, where the company is at the whims of broadcast licensing, often tied to a cable industry (Comcast/NBC) that intends to directly harm Netflix. These copyright gardens, built under the illusion of control, increasingly fracture content availability, confusing customers as they try to find a service that has most of the content they're looking for. Unfortunately, in many instances these customers then wind up finding that piracy is easier than decoding and running this availability gauntlet, where shows appear and disappear daily as deals are struck or cancelled.

And while Netflix's catalog of mainstream, high-end fare may be looking relatively skimpy these days, the company penned a blog post informing customers they really shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about that. Why? Because Netflix is busy working on creating an additional array of original content that may or may not be any good:
"We hear from our members that you wish we had newer movies. So do we. Studio licensing practices means it often takes more than a year before consumers can watch a theatrically released movie when and how they want. Just like we’ve changed the game for TV watchers by releasing entire seasons around the world at the same time, we have begun making movies that will premiere on Netflix globally and in some cases, simultaneously in theaters. It will take us time to build a robust slate of original movies, but we’re hard at work on it with such great stars and directors as Brad Pitt, Ricky Gervais, Judd Apatow, Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola and Adam Sandler."
And yes, while some Netflix content (House of Cards, Bloodlines and hopefully soon one of my favorites, Black Mirror) is great, it's not entirely clear that more Adam Sandler movies are the answer for users frustrated at the growing lack of popular options in Netflix's B-grade heavy content catalog. And while licensing does certainly hamstring Netflix, in this instance both Hulu and Amazon didn't find Epix's asking price too severe, meaning that Netflix made a judgement call and decided this content was content that its customers can live without.

At the moment, Netflix is focused on international expansion (200 countries by year's end), disrupting stale movie release windows, and original content. That's respectable, and it's likely the right path toward independence long-term from the noose of tightening broadcaster copyright. But at the same time Netflix's core catalog and satisfied customer base still relies on a certain threshold of quality content. As such, Netflix has to walk a fine line between giving consumers what they want, and trying to navigate the permissions culture tightrope dictated by broadcasters.

Netflix also has to walk the minefield of explaining all of this to consumers who just want the latest and greatest content and options and don't care about the details. For example, Amazon recently announced it would be letting users download content for streaming at a later date (albeit via Amazon's heavily DRM'd system). That's an appealing solution for usage-capped customers, but Netflix last week stated it wouldn't be following suit, claiming that offline downloads would prove too confusing for customers:
"I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use. Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”
Of course that's crap: letting people store a local copy of a film isn't remotely complex. What's complex is explaining to consumers why such functionality would likely cost Netflix significantly more in copyright licensing fees and layers of mandated DRM deployment. As we've noted previously, Netflix is still transitioning from a DVD rental business governed by the first sale doctrine, to a streaming business governed by the permission winds of countless fickle media empires. Communicating the costs of that transition to consumers clearly and honestly certainly isn't easy, but much like its Qwickster snafu of a few years back, it's entirely possible that Netflix could be pushing too far, too fast.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 7:49am

    While Netflix may not be entirely in the right here it bothers me that they are locked into the demands of megalomaniacs at Hollywood through current licensing mechanisms. What is clear to me is that the copyright holder should be tied to a non-discriminatory system where they must license for everybody at the same price. Then it would be up to the services to accept it or not. It is not a perfect system and it is still subject to shady practices (ie: studio X gets licensing from Amazon, "buys" advertising within Amazon to bring the licensing prices down to a more "agreeable" level) but it would be a good start.

    On the other hand, Netflix is doing amazingly right producing its own content and making a ton of alternative content available. I have a subscription for my family and we are actually going without these 'mainstream' movies. How long will they be mainstream once people decide going without them is ok?

    Finally, Netflix/Hollywood (probably more the latter than the former) are simply leaving money on the table. They could offer the entire catalog but charge some extra cents or even dollars for newer content (ie: you pay something and it gets permanently unblocked like a permanent rent), even those on the theaters. Of course this would require Hollywood to raise their heads from the cocaine trails using money to snort and actually pay attention to what the consumers want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      One thing that the Hollywood megalomaniacs have accomplished is that I watch far fewer movies and TV than I used to watch.

      There is . . . ta da . . . YouTube.

      I have discovered that I can find all sorts of conference presentations, technical tutorials, MIT online lectures, and lots of amateur videos of an instructive nature.

      And there is also the TED Talks app.

      And when I want to just watch something mindless, that is not very difficult to find. Even if I do turn to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:47pm

      Re:

      While Netflix may not be entirely in the right here it bothers me that they are locked into the demands of megalomaniacs at Hollywood through current licensing mechanisms.
      I guess they like people to blame Hollywood. But even when not bound by Hollywood demands, they refuse to release without DRM.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 4:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Where is the DRM on netflix? You pay for streaming, you get streaming.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 4:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Last I checked, it requires a proprietary app and streaming technology. It is not possible, for example, to stream Netflix on a platform that they haven't produced a client for. This "lockdown" of the stream is basically DRM. You can't stream it on the devices you want, you can only stream it on devices that they have authorized via their software.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 5:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It just needs a browser on a computer. There's an app on phones but that's really just a browser that only goes to netflix rather than an app. I think I can watch in browser on my phone as well, I assume that would work on anything that runs a browser. And if you haven't got a browser that's not DRM is it. Is the internet DRM'd because you need a html compliant browser to view it?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Isn't there code that prevents you from accessing the stream directly, for example to save it to disk? That sounds like a "technical protection measure" aka DRM.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:18pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Saving to disc isn't part of the deal. So yeah, I would imagine there is, but it doesn't erode your rights as a customer - which are to stream it.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I don't think the question was whether you have a right to save the stream, but whether Netflix is using DRM.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:51pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    My point is that none of the rights you have to material on netflix are being 'managed'.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:02am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      My point is that none of the rights you have to material on netflix are being 'managed'.

                      Then you're using a non-standard and useless definition of "DRM". Its purpose is not to manage the rights you do have, but to ensure you're unable to do anything you don't have the right to do (or that the producer just doesn't want you to do).

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:38am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Or, to put it more clearly, DRM is there to manage and protect the rights of the copyright holder, not the consumer. If consumer rights are violated in that process, it's considered collateral damage (but the reverse is considered heinous criminal activity, of course).

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:58am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If consumer rights are violated in that process, it's considered collateral damage

                          Or even a bonus.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:41pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          But you can only argue that netflix's system is even visible once you get into pirate territory.
                          DVD regions and blah blah, I get, and some really piss me off - stopped even renting DVDs. But I don't see how you could be like the dude up there, or that dumb-ass film maker in the story that he linked to and boycott netflix cos DRM. That doesn't make any sense.(unless you get piratey).

                          As a user it doesn't exist, but it's there . The studio's are providing their stuff. And Narco's was available in certain places within a day of release.

                          It's DRM done well.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:38pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            But you can only argue that netflix's system is even visible once you get into pirate territory.

                            The only real problem I have heard of with Netflix's DRM is it prevents use on Linux. That may have been solved by now, I haven't really kept up on it. But it's an example of DRM taking away rights for no good reason.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 14 Sep 2015 @ 4:59am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "But you can only argue that netflix's system is even visible once you get into pirate territory. "

                            Or, you use a setup that's not pre-ordained. Stop assuming everyone complaining is a pirate, then you might get what people are saying.

                            "As a user it doesn't exist"

                            ...unless it blocks you from accessing content you paid for.

                            Netflix's DRM is one of the better ones out there, but its only purpose is still to assume you're a pirate and to block you unless you convince it otherwise. Just because most manage to not fall foul of this system, that doesn't mean everyone does - and they're rightfully pissed off if they can't use what they paid for.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 12 Sep 2015 @ 7:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "It just needs a browser on a computer."

              It needs more than that. You also need to be running a supported operating system. I still cannot watch Netflix on Linux machines without doing an awful lot of hacking.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            DannyB (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can stream Netflix using the Google Chrome browser -- even on Linux.

            Now that may not answer all of your (or my) DRM objections. But I find Netflix to be a decent value given that I can use it on just about anything anywhere. All my android devices. All my set top boxes. Chromecast stick. Any computer with a Chrome browser. Some other browsers on Windows. And on devices I do not even own: Roku, Firestick, etc.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But I find Netflix to be a decent value...

              If anything, it seems like they could charge more, if it let them get more streaming deals and thus deliver more content. Seems like going from $8/month to $10 would not be so unpalatable, and would give them millions more dollars to use for licensing, even if thousands of people quit. Just be up front about it and mention how many more movies will be available, with a list of some of the popular ones, and I think people would accept it, especially if they made the deals first and then upped the price.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 12 Sep 2015 @ 7:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You can stream Netflix using the Google Chrome browser -- even on Linux."

              So they claim. I have not found this to be acutally true.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 9:38am

    Why in the world would Netflix give a damn about Epix when it just inked a deal with Disney? I, too, would ditch Epix (especially after the shit they pulled by refusing to release their latest catalog without more money from Netflix).

    Disney, if everyone recalls, owns both the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel movies. You know, those pesky things everyone seems to never get enough of.

    Along with the deal is Netflix's original content, and I have to say, most have been damn good. Content sells itself.

    I don't think Netflix is going to have a single care in the world people are upset at losing Hunger Games, given it's been on the service for a year now.

    I should also point out this is why HBO ended up where it is, or has anyone not seen its catalog of movies of late? If you enjoy re-watching crap you saw as a kid, it's right up your alley.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      I was thinking about that recently. I remember reading, I think right here on TD, that in 2016, Netflix would be Disney's exclusive online streaming.

      But I have a lot of interests beyond star wars.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 9:39am

    "disrupting stale movie release windows, and original content."

    I hear the Netflix catalog is different from country to country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 10 Sep 2015 @ 9:59am

    At the risk of marking myself as a Luddite, this is one of the main reasons I still prefer actually buying a movie on DVD. (Or, more often lately, blu-ray.) I can watch it when I want, (usually) where I want, and (mostly) how I want, basically permanently. If I've got nothing to do on a long weekend and suddenly have a craving for a movie I like but haven't seen in years, oh look, it's right on my shelf. I don't have to wonder whether or not it's still available on whatever streaming service I might happen to subscribe to this month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jilocasin (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:23am

      Re: [Netflix supports DVD/BLu-Ray]

      Whenever I want to watch something relatively new, I add it to my DVD queue. Netflix may have an ever changing line up of streaming content, but most everything will show up in your mail box eventually.

      If it's streamable, great, otherwise I'll watch it when it comes in.

      As long as Netflix has the fallback of physical media [backed by the first sale doctrine], keeps their prices down, and avoids ads, they will have a lot of wiggle room to try new things regarding streaming.


      [TorrentFreak's top 10 pirated movies list is a good place to look for new movies to add to your Netflix DVD/Blu-ray queue.]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      The flip side is that access the movie for the first time, you have to pay more than you would for Netflix. I agree that a decent library copy is important, but watching film X before you pay to buy or having film Y available to stream when family come to visit without having to buy it are valuable as well. You can choose both, not commit totally to one paradigm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jason, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re:

        Very true, and the biggest downside in my mind to straight out buying a copy. I try to minimize this by typically only buying a movie that I already know I like (saw in the theater, for example) or when I can find it on sale or used.

        Until recently I could rent movies from Amazon via my Tivo, but they changed that over to Netflix. I haven't had occasion to try it yet since then, but if the same basic feature set was there I can see myself using that on occasion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          My TiVo Roamio Plus and the many TiVo Mini's I have do Netflix, Amazon (Including Prime ), Hulu and YouTube. Fairly sure there are some other services supported too.

          The TiVo interface is great for dealing with all these providers too. Search for a movie, its lets you know what service has it and a couple clicks be watching it.

          What us consumers want is precisely what my TiVo does, EXCEPT we don't want to have to pay for Cable and Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, and who knows what other service to get it.

          Give me a single service that has it all and I'll be like Fry and say "Shut up and take my money!"

          Apparently Hollywood does not want my money.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Jason, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I suspect that the reason (or one of them) that my Tivo only supports Netflix now and none of the others is that it's an older model. Maybe Tivo just didn't feel like adapting the older systems to whatever new interface these other providers required?

            The interface was always a little slow, at least compared to just regular Tivo stuff, but it always worked just fine, and I could be watching a movie or TV show I picked within a minute or two.

            And I completely agree: the best part of that setup was that I could grab something I wanted to watch, pay a reasonable price for it (a couple dollars, if memory serves) one time, and not need to sign up for a subscription I'd almost never use.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 5:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yea, the older TiVos don't get any love.
              Looking on my romaio and a mini the following services are available:
              Amazon instant video, including access to prime
              VUDU
              Netflix
              YouTube
              Hulu Plus
              MLB.TV
              AOL.on whatever that is
              Yahoo screen

              If you subscribe too all the services you can access all of the content from a single interface. Comparable to popcorn time.
              But the cost of subscribing to all those services is prohibitive.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:04am

    If Netflix doesn't have it, Popcorn Time does...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      Then, you're part of the reason why this situation exists

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        steell (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re:

        Not even. This situation exists solely due to the greed and desire for control forever of the entertainment industry and their shills in Congress. Put the blame where it belongs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, it's a worldwide problem and things like regional and format windowing are killing their home business without US politics being involved. But, pirating whenever something isn't available at 2 seconds notice doesn't help

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            techflaws (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not pirating and adhering to abitrary release windows did help how?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, first they don't have the piracy excuse to continue doing that. If you default to piracy instead of competing titles, competing media, etc., you're sending the "stop servicing this region as a priority because they're all pirates" message and not the "we need to give them better service" message.

              But, there are legal ways to obtain material from outside your region and skirt release windows without breaking the law. Importing DVDs, using VPNs, subscribing to foreign streaming services, etc. send the message that you're willing to pay for content, you've just not been given the chance to do it locally.

              Now, some of these people are slow on the uptake, or try to skew the message to try and protect an ancient business model (for example - trying to pretend that people using VPNs to access US Netflix is piracy, rather than recognising that they need to licence more content worldwide). But, "you tried blocking me but I paid for the content anyway" is a much more powerful positive message than "I couldn't find it on one service so I pirated instead".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 5:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, first they don't have the piracy excuse to continue doing that.

                Come now, you should know better than that. If piracy disappeared overnight, they would still use it as an excuse to demand concessions and special treatment, 'just in case it might come back'.

                'Piracy' is far too useful a boogieman for them to ever stop using it.

                That said, I will agree that piracy is not the proper response. Studios don't want people to watch their stuff without jumping through tons of hoops and paying out the nose for half a dozen services? Call the bluff, don't watch their stuff, and spend your time, money and attention elsewhere.

                People need to realize that their time and money is more valuable than any song, movie or book, show some self-respect, and act accordingly. If a company thinks that their product is more valuable than the time and money of their potential customers, they deserve to be reminded that their product is only as valuable as people judge it to be, and more importantly, there's always something else to spend time and money on should a particular product 'cost' too much.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Then, you're part of the reason why this situation exists

        So if Netflix customers didn't pirate movies, Netflix and Epix would have been more likely to strike a deal? I'm not seeing how that works.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      A Non-Mouse, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:05am

      Re:

      If Netflix doesn't have it, I'm probably never going to watch it. Out of sight = out out mind. There's already too much content available, without worrying about the stuff they clearly don't want me to watch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dr evil, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:14am

    my solution

    Just like stated, if what I want isn't available on 'flix I just obtain a temporary copy elsewhere. Hulu sux, Amazon is already a giant and I refuse to double up on providers. Too bad I cant sue the content providers for inducing obtaining temporary copies

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jilocasin (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:16am

    It'll keep getting worse.... until it doesn't (or implodes)

    It'll keep getting worse.... until it doesn't (or implodes, whichever comes first).

      (Near) eternal copyright terms are BS, and counter productive.
      Default copyright on everything, see above.
      Individual licensing deals in the age of digital media and near zero duplication costs, unsustainable.


    All the above does is fracture the legal landscape and drive people to side step the increasingly insane copyright restrictions.

    It's telling when:
      watching a non-corporate approved copy of a movie is simpler, faster, and more enjoyable than an official DVD or Blu-Ray.
      streaming via Popcorn Time is simpler and less restrictive than Hulu, or Netflix, or Amazon.
      what content a commercial service carries depends on what piece of land the system thinks you are standing on at the time.


    What prohibition (in the US) should have taught us by now, is that when faced with a nonsensical law and legal landscape, people will just ignore it [even grandma had a pint, just for medicinal purposes of course]. The crazier copyright related laws get, the less people will support/worry/comply with them.

    The solution (short of just doing away with the obviously unneeded copyright regime):

    • Return copyright to requiring formalities

    • Reduce copyright to it's original 12 + 12 year term

    • Expand and make universal, Fair Use of works

    • Open/standard/compulsory licensing on all performance/streaming applications


    Let companies focus on providing the best service, user interface, novel application instead of crippling them at the whim of whomever happens to hold a copyright on a particular work.

    As the internet age has clearly demonstrated, copyright isn't really needed as an incentive to create creative works. It just allows short sighted greed to hinder innovation and actually often reduces the availability of protected works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:44am

    "permission culture dilemma" -- HA, HA! You mean the culture in which the people who pay for production want to profit for work and risk? That PESKY CULTURE?

    Those meanies! Should just permit Netflix to monetize any and all products for free, right? Thereby permitting millions to drift into zombie mode FOR FREE. Producers should be happy to get exposure so that... they can somehow, maybe by selling T-shirts, get SOME of their money back. We saw last week how a successful Kickstarter project turned $100,000 into 7 million Youtube views for maybe $14,000 back...

    You have no coherent philosophy: are anti-capitalist when it comes to content producers, claiming they should work for free and give up rights, then practically monarchists for your chosen few corporations to get all the honor and money. You're just insane. That's never going to work. That's the economics of parasites that don't care if kill the host and themselves die.

    In fact and in common law besides statute, those who make content are THEREBY entitled to grant permission to consumers. It's not a "permission" it's a PRODUCTION CULTURE. -- If Netflix -- which is STILL not making visible profit -- can't charge enough from couch potatoes, or make its own popular content, that's too bad.

    Also, you're utterly fixated on the notion that the internet is same as broadcasting, when it's not: repeating data takes equipment at every step; there's mounting costs to internet bandwidth, though not to over-the-air, see? That's another key flaw in Masnick's notions.

    Anyway. Haven't lost your ability to make me giggle like a girl: "permission culture dilemma"! Man, you pseudo-academics are entranced by your own "magic words", the "Rumpelstiltskin" effect, believe that syllabification makes reality go away.


    Slow page load? Have to click to see comments the fanboys censored?

    Get all the text and none of the ads with the new Techdirt Lite!
    https://www.techdirt.com/?_format=lite

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re: "permission culture dilemma" -- HA, HA! You mean the culture in which the people who pay for production want to profit for work and risk? That PESKY CULTURE?

      Dear idiot,

      "Permission culture" in the sense that while Netflix doesn't need the copyright holder's permission to rent DVD's, it does need permission to stream the exact same content.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:22am

      Re: "permission culture dilemma" -- HA, HA! You mean the culture in which the people who pay for production want to profit for work and risk? That PESKY CULTURE?

      "Those meanies! Should just permit Netflix to monetize any and all products for free, right"

      I know you're a trolling idiot, but you do realise that Netflix and its users pay for content and nobody has advocated otherwise? What a waste of energy the rest of your rant is, and what a sad waste of a life.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:34am

      Re:

      Oh look it's a clown that talks like a man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re:

        Rev 13:11
        Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.
        You mean a mouthpiece. It doesn't talk like a man. It talks like a hollywood sockpuppet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That second beast is the United States. Out of the earth (a sparsely populated are), two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon (a conflicted nation. Checks and balances, separation of powers. Christians and non Christians, people of all beliefs, etc...). We also arose at about the right time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jilocasin (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:42am

      Re: "permission culture dilemma" -- HA, HA! You mean the culture in which the people who pay for production want to profit for work and risk? That PESKY CULTURE?

      "In fact and in common law besides statute, those who make content are THEREBY entitled to grant permission to consumers. It's not a "permission" it's a PRODUCTION CULTURE."


      Wow.... just wow.....

      statute, unfortunately, common law, not bloody likely.

      People used to need permission to print copies of selected works [that were fixed in a tangible medium] for a limited time. This was seen as an acceptable limitation on the _common_law_ right to do what you wanted with what you own. The hope was that it would encourage more content to be created and that more people would be able to benefit.

      Unfortunately this has been perverted into a belief (often backed by law) that every utterance, word, thought, sight, and sound can be owned and that people require permission to do what they want with things that they own, or look at, or even think..

      It's this absurd belief, and the laws that back it, that are referred to as a Permission Culture.

      [but then you probably already knew that....]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:34pm

      Re: "permission culture dilemma" -- HA, HA! You mean the culture in which the people who pay for production want to profit for work and risk? That PESKY CULTURE?

      DOX him Mike, dox him.

      If he's an 'official' shill, it would make a great story and highlight the ways of the 'legit' mafia.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dingledore the Flabberghaster, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:10am

    Amazon Prime has allowed downloading for a co

    has allowed downloading for a couple of weeks now (UK here). Seems to work really well - I was watching something on my tablet via streaming over the public transport wifi (luckily they haven't blocked Amazon yet) and, when I got off, it kept playing. Looks like it pulls down a hefty buffer when it can.

    Would be good to see Netflix do this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:24am

      Re: Amazon Prime has allowed downloading for a co

      It would also be nice for other regions of Amazon site (such as Spain) be able to offer streaming, let alone downloads. Yours is just another example of how far ahead the platforms are of those who licence content

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:12am

    Netflix-produced content is pretty good.

    It's almost worth the price of Netflix alone. Is the other content enough to get me to subscribe to Hulu? Maybe. But right now, my eyes are on Netflix. So if they want revenue from their content from me, that's where they might consider putting it.

    DannyB - TED talks are great. I love the TED app on my Roku.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:49pm

    OK, ill bite, what's an 'Adam Sadler'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:58pm

    If you want the latest and greatest, Netflix will happily send you a bluray. Their disc catalogue far exceeds all the streaming services put together.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DavidL, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:34pm

    It really seems like despite the name Netflix has decided that TV is where their focus should be. My wife and I have gone through hundreds of hours of content since finally biting the bullet and subscribing last year, and watched exactly zero movies through them. Their streaming selection for recent and all-time films just isn't very good, and is about to get even worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      And I'm the opposite. All I watch are movies, and there's always been far more than enough intersting stuff for me to stream that I've never run out of things to watch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:06am

      Re:

      As I always ask of people who say these sort of things - just what kind of movies do you want to watch? I always find great movies that I know I want to watch or rewatch, and constantly find movies that interest me that I may never have previously heard of or had access to. These include everything from classics to more recent movies, foreign and English language movies, theatrical movies and stright to video titles. Hell, I even watch a pile of crap now and again (the recent TMNT reboot, for example) if I'm in the mood, because there's no way I'd pay anything more than a Netflix sub to access them.

      I'm honestly mystified how people can't find more titles then they have time to watch through the service. I know it's personal taste, but looking at my own queue I really can't comprehend how people can say there's nothing good. Maybe if you're the sort of person who just says "I want to watch film X" and get disappointed if it's not there, but not if you're just looking at their selection for something worth watching.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:06am

        Re: Re:

        Maybe if you're the sort of person who just says "I want to watch film X" and get disappointed if it's not there, but not if you're just looking at their selection for something worth watching.

        I think that might be it. I've pretty much given up on trying to find a particular film to stream on Netflix, because it's hardly ever available.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think the trick is to find the service that suits you. Use something like canistream.it to see where the movies you want are streaming. If somewhere else always has something you're interested in, use that instead of Netflix. If (more likely) nowhere has the film you want, it's the studio that's disappointing you, not Netflix.

          The way I use Netflix, I look at what's available, queue up what I want to watch and keep an eye on sites like Instantwatcher to keep informed of new releases. I'm never disappointed, because I'm choosing from what they have, not wishing for a movie that no streaming service has available. Last time there was a cull, I was too busy adding new films to my queue to mourn the loss of other movies.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If (more likely) nowhere has the film you want, it's the studio that's disappointing you, not Netflix.

            Well it's kind of both, as we've seen here. Other places have managed to get a deal with Epix and Netflix didn't. Amazon usually has just about everything, but most of it is not free even with a Prime membership, so then it's a question of do I want to spend $3 to watch this, or just watch something else for free. Amazon doesn't seem to have a filter to show only free stuff, so I browse Netflix rather than Amazon when I'm just looking for something to watch.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think you misread what I said - I said if *nowhere* has it, blame the studios. If Hulu has it instead of Netflix, that's not the same thing and Netflix may share some of the blame.

              As for Amazon, they have a dual business offering - Prime "free" streaming and paid individual sales/rentals. Comparing the latter with Netflix and Hulu is disingenuous as their competition there is iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, etc. and not the subscription streaming services. Content that's only available on an individual basis rather than paid subs is likely to be a studio thing still (e.g. they won't licence it within a certain window, same reason some content is only available for purchase rather than rental).

              "Amazon doesn't seem to have a filter to show only free stuff, so I browse Netflix rather than Amazon when I'm just looking for something to watch."

              I'd again recommend using a 3rd party site, as they tend to have better filtering options and will search all sites at the same time. Even if you're only looking at Netflix, I tend to find I locate more stuff than using Netflix's interface alone. The way you're doing it, it also sounds like you're missing anything that's exclusive to Prime. if you're paying for both, you might as well search both and get your money's worth.

              Like I say, each to their own, and you might genuinely not be finding anything you like on Netflix. I just have very wide tastes, and find it unlikely I'll ever personally reach such a day.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I think you misread what I said - I said if *nowhere* has it, blame the studios.

                True.

                As for Amazon, they have a dual business offering - Prime "free" streaming and paid individual sales/rentals. Comparing the latter with Netflix and Hulu is disingenuous

                Not at all, they are all places to get streaming movies, and as far as I can tell Amazon doesn't make any effort to separate the two.

                I'd again recommend using a 3rd party site

                I may try that.

                Like I say, each to their own, and you might genuinely not be finding anything you like on Netflix.

                I'm finding plenty of stuff I like, I just usually cannot find any particular thing I'm looking for there, so I stopped looking for anything in particular.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:59am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Not at all, they are all places to get streaming movies"

                  Yes, but Amazon do it in 2 ways - individual rent/purchases and subscription. That's 2 different business models, and they only compete with Netflix directly via one.

                  I can see what you're saying, but it's the difference between the individual vs subscription that causes the difference in licencing agreements, which is what causes the discrepancy we're talking about. The delivery mechanism is secondary.

                  "I'm finding plenty of stuff I like, I just usually cannot find any particular thing I'm looking for there, so I stopped looking for anything in particular."

                  Good call. The best old school analogy is Blockbuster vs. your cable channels. You wouldn't find the same selection on the latter, but you'd sit there and browse until you found something you're interested in. If you really wanted something particular, you're drive to Blockbuster. That doesn't mean that the cable channel was an inferior service, it's just something that needed to be approached differently.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:11am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes, but Amazon do it in 2 ways - individual rent/purchases and subscription. That's 2 different business models, and they only compete with Netflix directly via one.

                    I understand, but until they have two different sites - "Amazon Prime Free Streaming" and "Amazon Online Movie Rental" I really don't care. It's all just "Amazon Video" and I never know what's going to be free and what's not. If I'm Doing It Wrong please tell me, because I would love to be able to browse/search just the free (with Prime) stuff there.

                    That doesn't mean that the cable channel was an inferior service, it's just something that needed to be approached differently.

                    Yeah, I still wish the streaming catalog would get bigger instead of smaller. :-(

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      jupiterkansas (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 9:21am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The way to get the same thing from Netflix is to sign up for their bluray/DVD service. Then you can get exactly the movie you need, and the DVD catalog is huge.

                      I know it's not as simple as click a button and the movie plays, which is what everyone seems to want.

                      You can also try your local library, where movies are free.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 10:48am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Neither of those are "the same thing" they're a completely different way to watch a movie.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          jupiterkansas (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:16pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          They are the same thing in that they don't require a streaming license. The goal isn't how you watch a movie, it's being able to watch any movie you want. In fact, I think Netflix has the advantage here because Amazon video is still restricted to licensing.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:36pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            The goal isn't how you watch a movie, it's being able to watch any movie you want.

                            Perhaps that is your goal. Often it is more important to me to be able to watch something right now than it is to be able to watch any movie I want in a few days. Or maybe watch the movie I want if it's available locally after a drive to a video rental store and spending some money on it.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 14 Sep 2015 @ 4:54am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "I understand, but until they have two different sites - "Amazon Prime Free Streaming" and "Amazon Online Movie Rental""

                      Why does that matter? They also have sections where you can buy physical media, books, garden furniture and food. Nobody would consider Netflix a direct competitor for those, so why is it necessary for Amazon to filter off non-subscription video services for them to not be considered a competitor?

                      "I really don't care"

                      That doesn't mean the difference doesn't exist.

                      "I never know what's going to be free and what's not."

                      I don't use the site for video. But, from what I can see, every movie that's available for no extra cost has a "Prime" logo across the top left of the cover art and you can also browse movies through the Prime Video section. If you search for something, one of the filter options on the left is "Prime eligible".

                      I could be wrong - I'm certainly not going to sign up for a trial to make sure - but that's how I understand it.

                      "Yeah, I still wish the streaming catalog would get bigger instead of smaller. :-("

                      As do we all, although I think how "big" the catalogue really is depends on personal taste. Like anyone, I'd rather have a lower selection of things that interest me instead of extra thousands of things I'll never want to watch.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 14 Sep 2015 @ 6:50am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        why is it necessary for Amazon to filter off non-subscription video services for them to not be considered a competitor?

                        I'm not sure where that question even came into it. Whether they separate them or not, they're competing with Netflix.

                        If you search for something, one of the filter options on the left is "Prime eligible".

                        The last time I checked, Prime eligible doesn't mean it's free with Prime. Sometimes it's just cheaper.

                        As do we all, although I think how "big" the catalogue really is depends on personal taste.

                        No, bigger is just a number. You're thinking of better. :-)

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 14 Sep 2015 @ 7:20am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "Whether they separate them or not, they're competing with Netflix."

                          They're offering 2 services, which they happen to have put in the same section of their website. Only one service has Netflix as a direct competitor, the other could be argued as indirect but they're addressing different parts of the market.

                          Again, I think we'll have to agree to disagree here. I believe I know where you're coming from, but I think it's folly to compare a per-time rental service with a subscription service, since the latter is not allowed to licence the same range of titles.

                          "The last time I checked, Prime eligible doesn't mean it's free with Prime. Sometimes it's just cheaper."

                          OK, as I said I don't use the service, and a random sampling of Prime titles stated they were free. You'll have more experience there than I do, just trying to help :)

                          "No, bigger is just a number. You're thinking of better. :-)"

                          Yes and no. If there's 50 movies I'll enjoy and 5,000 romantic comedies and reality shows, the effective size of the catalogue to me is still only 50 movies since I'll never watch the rest. Another person, who only ever watches those genres will consider the same catalogue to be much bigger. Increasing the catalogue won't make it better for me unless they increase the side I'm interested in.

                          What I mean is, it's about perception as much as hard numbers. I agree that having a wider selection is good no matter what, but there's more to it than that.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:13am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Probably third party search sites right? :-) Why can't they figure out how to do it right themselves...

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ottermaton (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:11pm

    Nearly 25%!!!

    The idiot troll manages to get nearly 25% (8 of 36, at the time of this writing) of all the comments. I'd be ashamed of myself for falling into his trap; apparently 1/4 of TD readers aren't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:14pm

      Re: Nearly 25%!!!

      I'd be ashamed of myself for falling into his trap;

      Just because you didn't click "reply to this" doesn't mean you aren't responding to the troll.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Nearly 25%!!!

      I think it's great! His "work" only benefits techdirt. More traffic, more comments, and we all get to see the low brow thought processes of the legal mafia. Thanks ootb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:25pm

      Re: Nearly 25%!!!

      And apparently even more are annoyed with your constant whining about this which is why they reported you the other day. Seems like a winning strategy...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:11am

      Re: Nearly 25%!!!

      I respond half to poke him with a virtual stick because I'm bored, half to ensure that there's some factual rebuttal should lurkers or new readers mistake him for someone with a real opinion. I also don't find that it distracts me from engaging with the non-trolls for real conversation.

      I give the same advice to you as I do to the trolls when they whine about not being interested in a particular story topic - ignore and move on. The constant whining about people replying to trolls is almost as annoying as the trolls themselves. Face it, whether he's actually a lunatic or just plays one on the internet, people are going to respond whether you like it or not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Wolf of Wall Street or Pixels

    How's this for a selling point:
    "Sure, you may want award-winning actors and actresses, like those found in The Hunger Games and Wolf of Wall Street, but we have something better: the actor behind the laugh-out-loud movie, Pixels. And remember, Pixels wasn't the worst-rated movie of the summer."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brazilian Guy, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:46pm

    I hope Netflix starts bringing more movies from Europe, Japan and India, that have very few space on global distribution. And since many countries have their own policies about availability of local produced content that Netflix is trying to adjust to, it won't be that much extra investment. Specially due to subtitles being pretty cheap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brazilian Guy, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:46pm

    I hope Netflix starts bringing more movies from Europe, Japan and India, that have very few space on global distribution. And since many countries have their own policies about availability of local produced content that Netflix is trying to adjust to, it won't be that much extra investment. Specially due to subtitles being pretty cheap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:03pm

    Streaming is turning out to be just cable by a different method. Nothing but restrictions on what you can watch so the content owners can control the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nic, 10 Sep 2015 @ 5:48pm

    Compulsory licenses

    I realize it's nigh impossible in a bought congress but I think compulsory license fees for streaming movies should be established, like with radio and music. It's time for the law to adapt to the times and movie streaming services are not all that different from radios or services like Pandora.

    The core of the problem is that many companies have an interest in harming competitors like Netflix by specifically making stringent and unreasonable demands, knowing it's a boon to their own servicem they're planning to launch.

    Compulsory licenses would really solve a lot of these problems and if the MPAA isn't happy with it, that's even better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:03pm

    Where do WEBRiPs come from?

    Studio licensing practices means it often takes more than a year before consumers can watch a theatrically released movie [on Netflix]
    I'm quite surprised to read this. When I look around online, it seems there are always lots of movies labeled WEBRiP, often for movies still in theaters (or generally months before a DVD/BD release in any case). Some have hardcoded Korean/Chinese subtitles, but some are clean. Where are they sourced if not from Netflix?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:08am

    Or to put what these "content creators" are saying

    Short version
    "We love the Piracy"
    "Make with the pirates"
    "Do the pirate thing"

    ****SHARING****

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fail, 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:30am

    So Amazon is offering the ability to download content, calling it now it's only going to be available on non-mobile devices. Even if you have an Amazon Prime account a lot of the content you either have to watch on an actual computer or pay extra for. hulu has even more annoying habits like not offering complete seasons or only some episodes of certain shows, not to mention having to pay more to remove ads. So far even if Netflix is losing third party content they are still number one in my book. They're only ones willing to stand up to this bullshit even if it's a real hassle for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 12 Sep 2015 @ 7:39am

    And they may be right

    meaning that Netflix made a judgement call and decided this content was content that its customers can live without.


    And they may be right, or right enough to reach their profit goals. I am a Netlfix customer and I find their catalog satisfying enough to continue. I am not a customer of any other similar services such as Hulu or Amazon. (Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Prime customer and as such I can technically watch their video offerings. I just don't do it since Netflix has me covered.)

    The lack of many recent big name movies doesn't bother me at all, since there are very few recent big name movies that are of any interest to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    robbie davis, 4 Dec 2015 @ 8:22pm

    netflix sucks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    internetflix, 22 Apr 2017 @ 8:31pm

    This is really bad for Netflix users. I believe they should change this ASAP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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