Netflix Really Serious About Streaming-Only Subscription

Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy said yesterday that the movie rental company will likely add a streaming-only subscription level “in the foreseeable future.” His remarks came at the Jeffries Internet and Media conference in New York, and reinforce similar comments made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last week.

McCarthy said Netflix is still focused on providing a bundled DVD/online offering, but evidently there’s been enough interest (certainly in the media) in a streaming-only option. Hastings has said Netflix plans to continue offering streaming as a subscription service, rather than exploring ad-supported or transactional business models.

Netflix passed the 10 million subscriber mark earlier this month and during its last earnings call Hastings said “millions” (emphasis on the “s” there) of subscribers had used the service. The company currently offers more than 12,000 titles through its “Watch Instantly” streaming service, which is mostly made up of catalog titles (but the freshness of content is definitely improving).

Better content and pricing would obviously be the key to adoption. Right now you can get unlimited streaming through Netflix for as little as $8.99 a month (the one-DVD-at-a-time level). But a streaming-only option for a little less would be quite appealing, especially if you could augment it with Amazon VOD (coming to the Roku) for a la carte new releases.

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