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Summary:

Netflix has grown pretty substantially since launching its subscription streaming service. But pretty soon, it might not be the only game in town; companies like OnLive and Vizio are in negotiations with content owners to launch their own streaming services like the one Netflix has.

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Netflix has grown substantially since unveiling its streaming offering to users, but it’s not alone. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, it could soon see competition from a number of different players offering their own subscription streaming services. Among those, Vizio and OnLive have emerged as two new possible entrants into the market.

The Wall Street Journal does a good job of breaking down the competitive threat that Netflix has grown into, with nearly as many subscribers as premium cable networks like Showtime or Starz. But more interesting is the rundown of companies the article says are looking to emulate the Netflix model with streaming offerings of their own.

Among them, Microsoft and Amazon had previously been rumored to be “in negotiations” with content owners to create subscription video services like the one Netflix operates. But new to the fold are subscription gaming service OnLive and consumer electronics manufacturer Vizio.

A streaming offering from OnLive would extend its offerings beyond the cloud-based gaming service it already offers to consumers. With its infrastructure already in place, adding video might not be a huge leap, and it could attract new users beyond the relatively niche gaming market.

Meanwhile, Vizio’s interest in offering up a streaming service makes a certain amount of sense in its efforts to create more value for consumers that buy its products. But a Vizio service could be seen as competitive to Netflix, which is available on many of Vizio’s new connected devices, as well as traditional cable services. A Vizio service would also not be able to have as wide of a reach as Netflix, because it would be limited to its own install base. Netflix, by contrast, is now on more than 200 different consumer electronics devices.

Companies that might be more of a threat to Netflix include gaming platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or the Sony PlayStation 3. Both of those consoles have huge installed bases already, but like Vizio, they also have Netflix service available on their gaming platforms. Amazon could also serve as a threat to Netflix by introducing a subscription service in addition to its current Video on Demand offering. Like Netflix, Amazon VOD is already installed on a number of different devices, and its rumored service, which would possibly be available as part of its Amazon Prime offering, would be priced competitively, at $79 a year.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Scott Feldstein.

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  1. I personally don’t seen Onlive expanding into movie streaming for some time now. The Video Game industry is what they are currently trying to enter. Perhaps in the future once they have their streaming video game system working up to par, they will think about streaming video as well.

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