Netflix is a popular and well-known movie streaming provider, which is given credit in changing how normal people watch television. Go back a small number of years and if you wanted to watch a television series, you either had to make sure you were in front of a TV set when it was broadcast (or repeated), you recorded the show via an under-the-set box, or you went out and bought the boxed set on DVD (or VHS if we go back far enough). Nowadays, many series are showing on Netflix. It's important to explain that not all television series are showing on Netflix and there are regional differences, so what's on Netflix US isn't always available on Netflix UK, for example. And Netflix as a business has been expanding across the world – the service is available across fifty countries and the business is continuing its expansion plans. By the end of 2016, it's planning to be available almost everywhere around the world.
They've released a document on their website detailing their long term plans. It's an interesting piece – hit up the source if you're interested – but one of the key messages is that Netflix isn't aiming to provide everything via the service, instead it wants to feature the best. In other words, if it isn't showing on Netflix, it's probably not worth watching? They're not planning on competing with the bigger providers (such as Sky, Comcast, Sony or Google) but instead aiming to be a "focused passion brand." It's here that Netflix needs to tread carefully: one of the reasons for the brand's success is because they have a good selection, perhaps even the best selection. There are two main ways to have a great selection: understand the movies and shows that are in demand by the viewing public and make sure you have the rights to them. Or make the best movies and shows.
We already know Netflix is investing large sums of money into production. It seems that the company is aiming to be producing the best content available and picking the best of the rest. Their blog explains that they don't offer pay-per-view or advert-supported content, but instead their focus is to remain on flat fee, unlimited, commercial free viewing. They're not going to be streaming news, user-generated, sports, music or reality shows. They've no plans to get involved with live streaming: not the most ambitious of plans, but live streaming gives many more opportunities for things to fail!
The document also details some of Netflix's optimism regarding streaming 4K video, which will require a significant upgrade in bandwidth compared with 1080p. Currently, the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of 4K content is believed to be bandwidth but it seems Netflix are preparing to stream shows at Ultra HD resolution. Do you use Netflix? If so, how and where do you use it? Do you subscribe to other video streaming services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.