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David Poland

By David Poland

Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?

Netflix, Netflix, what will you be?

It’s been less than 9 months since Netflix made its first high-end deal for streaming content with Relativity. Since then, it’s expanded into Canada, cut it’s base price, made a deal with EPIX and others, let go of Criterion, and expanded its base of viewers, marginally.

The media has sucked down the spin that Netflix is a threat to pay-tv and cable like hungry infants. So that spin is overriding something far more interesting about what appears to be a deal for a high profile new series from Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, who together (with many others) brought The Social Network to the world.

This is very, very interesting in two ways.

Firstly, this choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.

Secondly, it seems that Netflix has figured out what some of us figured out months ago… that leasing content at over retail prices can only be a means to an end, not an ongoing, hard-charging business model. In other words, they can prop up the business to sell it and/or become a 2% a year growth middle man amongst many.

So now they are back, as they were with Red Envelope, to trying to compete as a “sign up for Netflix-Only content” play. This time, they can lead the way as the first streaming-first original content business. But with just this one show, they are looking at spending $3 per paying customer per year to have the show, or about 8% of the annual fee each home pays for the service. Will they try to sell advertising to go with it? Maybe. But that is a significant change in their model.

Of course, there will be ancillary revenue from DVD, foreign sales, etc. So maybe the show costs 2% of revenues. It’s still a lot when you have your foot in another business model, which is streaming library content and third window content.

Regardless of the hard numbers, it’s something new for Netflix. It’s a gray signal that the company is not likely to sign Starz (aka Disney & Sony) again. Just with what they have and Starz, streaming fees would be over $800 million a year, minimally. on total annual revenues around $1.35 billion. Do you throw in for a $50m a year deal while you’re waiting for that $400 million-a-year deal to close?

The idea that they are competing with HBO is interesting, but until Netflix can find a way to bring its streaming leases in line with a company like HBO’s… which is to say, paying less than half of what they are now paying and openly narrowing their range of content significantly… it’s not a real fight. If the money that HBO or Showtime was willing to pay for this show was close to what Netflix offered and either was willing to make a 2 season commitment at the top, there is zero chance that it would have gone to Netflix. The marketing power of HBO and Showtime are too much to pass up. But neither company would seriously consider a built-in 2 season commitment to anything for anyone. They pulled the trigger on Season Two of Boardwalk Empire on opening night… but they pretty much knew what they had and for that show to have one season would have made it even more expensive than it is (because of the build out). But they didn’t buy 26 up front.

So once again, Netflix is committing more than others to get on the same field. That only works s a shot-term model.

Anyway… the next couple of steps by Netflix will expose even more, as their outrageously pricey Relativity and EPIX buys did this fall.

And what does it say for Amazon, Facebook, and the other syndicated outlets for content that are interested in the space Netflix is currently in? If Netflix is abandoning the library streaming business less than a year into some big investment, what does it say about the future for anyone else? Truth is, it’s probably a better model for a company like Amazon, that is basically the world’s deepest Sear’s catalog already. Amazon is a warehouse business and they will never be reliant on streaming video as a primary business.

At Netflix, the writing on the wall was there. And they priced themselves out of the game. So it looks like a new strategy is here. In the great tradition of the network and cable game, make themselves a “must carry.” I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the bidding for hockey or trying to make a deal to stream Major League Baseball or something like that before long. If they are going this way, no one show “airing” 13 times a year is going to keep customers paying $8 or more a month. If Netflix becomes a thrift shop, with content here and there and everywhere, the churn will get worse.

It’s gonna be interesting…

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45 Responses to “Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?”

  1. David says:

    Another blog post that is all hot air and zero substance. What are you actually saying here… Netflix has paid too much for their Starz content and can’t possibly re-up. Subscriber growth is not even mentioned. This is tired another dooms-day netflix-hating post.

    Love ya! no really I do love Moviecitynews, it’s just that this post is crap.

  2. Rage says:

    Um….I have no idea what this guy is trying to say. It sounded like gibberish.

  3. Bitplayer says:

    I stopped reading after the first paragraph. I think Dave’s mad he didn’t score a stake in the company way back when. I think this play could work, makes more sense for television shows than movies in a way. Netflix is kinda perfect for television. I’ve sat through about 60 episodes of various shows, courtesy of my girlfriend, burning through these series in a week.

  4. David Poland says:

    Always interesting when people come out of nowhere to proclaim, in only the broadest strokes, that a story makes no sense. Are you guys getting paid for this?

    No, Netfliz is not now paying too much for Starz. If they could continue this deal and do it with others, they’d be in great shape. It’s the next deal that will have to be at least 10x what they have been paying, if they can get that done.

    Subscriber growth is a lovely notion, but there is no model in which it can grow enough for them to make this a profitable model. No one has 40 million subscribers. And Netfliz is offering less and less content.

    Of course, the entire post is about the model shift, which is not very complicated. Why is a company spending $50m – $100m on an unproven series when their entire model is delivering proven content?

    If you are real people and not just opposition trolls working for Netflix, please offer some insight. I am open to any ideas anyone has.

  5. Matt says:

    They’d have to be printing money to support this venture and re-upping the Starz deal … so good analysis, the next few months will be interesting to watch.

  6. Chris says:

    Goldman Sachs upgraded their stock yesterday so I’m anxious to see how it opens tomorrow on this news.

  7. Chris says:

    David, I think this move by Hastings is a reaction to Amazon Prime. As I mentioned the last time we debated the streaming sector, Amazon Prime is their biggest threat (the market agreed and dropped the stock hard) and reading the section of your post today about Amazon seems to imply you agree?

  8. IOv3 says:

    “Firstly, this choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.”

    That right there is David’s entire problem with Netflix: they don’t do enough for his cineaste’s taste. That’s it. Everything else, as David has put it out there, is secondary.

    What David is missing again is that Netflix is becoming a pay network. It’s available on countless TVs, BD/DVD player, and every console. It hogs 40 PERCENT of all internet bandwith in this country. 40 PERCENT. This is a service that either is going to become bigger or transform itself into weird hybrid online network that’s technically not online because it’s in damn near everyone’s house so paying for a TV show makes sense in this case.

  9. Chris says:

    The only thing you can count on in this biz is Poland acting like he knows everything when he’s proven time and time again he knows next to nothing like all the rest of us.

    It’s annoying and comforting at the same time.

  10. David Poland says:

    I don’t come close to knowing everything. And i Don’t want to break my arm patting myself on the back. But put up or shut up, Chris. After 15 years of doing this, what big picture issue have I had wrong?

    And IO, you are confused. Using 40% of the bandwidth is not owning 405 of the bandwidth. You sound like a tv network in 1990, assuming that because of the history and penetration, they would always be uncompromised.

    And Amazon Prime is an insignificant threat to Netflix. The cost of content is the threat.

    People don’t seem to get it… Netflix broke the model once. Big win. But the second time, with streaming, they got to the next model early, but it’s not structurally prohibitive the way that DVD rentals by mail were. Getting into homes is not the challenge for existing studios and networks.

    Streaming, as an ongoing business, with approximate pay-tv more than anything else. (That, I have been saying for years, IO… pay attention.) The only revolution is the depth of available content, which has its benefits and serious downside.

    Netflix already is a pay network, IO. But as we move forward, it will compete with at least a dozen other such networks. And then, content will matter. And the advantage with go, in terms of content plays, as it has on cable/satellite, to the owners of the content. Streaming frees all the content producers to be content distributors as well. They don’t need to fight for cable rights all over America and put in lines and maintain them, etc.

    Look at the width of the YouTube pipe. All the uncopyrighted content in the world and it’s free. And they still haven’t developed a single brand that they control. Bieber fever may have started there, but aside from the relatively few ad dollars they made, they didn’t get paid for their part in his success.

    And yes, IO, there is nothing wrong with Netflix wanting a series. But as I wrote – and you gloss over – they have been forced to wildly overcommit to get one. You don’t think that matters. But it matters a lot. And as with all of this I have written about Netflix in the last 18 months, they know it too. Their behaviors show it.

    I don’t know whether Wall Street will stay sweet on Netflix and for how long. An analyst would have a much better idea of that than me. But is there any question that Wall Street has been hyped into overpraising Netflix as a business going forward past the next 3 years? None.

  11. IOv3 says:

    And David, you make good points, but this all stems from you not approving of their content acquisitions as they pertain to you. Your first gripe is about CINEASTES (YOU!) and how they feel about the direction Netflix is going in.

    Again, if you have a problem with the content, that’s all fine and good, but is that really a reason enough to continue to go off on this company at every turn? They are not PLEASING YOU. This does not mean they are not pleasing the rest of us.

  12. Krillian says:

    Hey, I’m switching to Netflix next month. I want postive spin only!

  13. Chris Lux says:

    The third post by Chris was a different Chris than the first two. I’ll use Chris Lux from now on.

    I’m not saying your big picture is wrong David but Amazon Prime is a big threat to Netflix because streaming can be a loss leader for Amazon. Netflix doesn’t have the luxury of luring in customers with one business on the cheap so they can make margin selling them gardening supplies in bulk. You hinted at this in your blog post. Yes the cost of content is the ultimate threat but the costs would be less if Amazon Prime wasn’t sitting there willing to subsidize streaming costs.

    Selling dvds at a loss worked well for Walmart. I think Amazon is doing the same thing with streaming.

  14. matt says:

    I like the overall analysis of this series on Netflix, but I think you’re being a little quick to dismiss the technical side. It’s not that they own the bandwidth, it’s that they own the servers and the technical know-how to run a huge streaming operation. This is non-trivial and can be a significant asset. It’s a race for Netflix–can they build up this technical advantage to such overwhelming size that the studios find it cost-effective to continue to go with a middleman? The bigger they get, the more of a technical advantage they may have. (I tend to think that’s what the big content deals are for: getting bigger for bigness sake.) It is a big roll of the dice for them, but it’s not a impossible bet, just their only real play.

  15. Eric says:

    Bandwidth is not an asset whose benefits increase as its use increases. Netflix benefits from having a well-planned digital delivery infrastructure but the investment in that backend doesn’t prohibit another competitor from entering the market. In other words, they are not moving towards a natural monopoly. There’s no reason a competitor won’t be able to build another delivery system.

    Their smartest move so far, as I see it, is the high placement rate on devices. Netflix becomes the default choice when it’s on every device you attach to your TV.

  16. hcat says:

    Getting out of distribution with Red Envelope was a great decision, they were in a very crowded field and it wasn’t going to create any real revenue. An original show is much more likely too. How many people have HBO just for the series? Showtime as well? Add some dinstinctive programming along side a vast wearhouse of old shows and new release films in the mail and it is an incredible value (even if they lose Starz). The model they seem to be going after is an uber-FX. Original series to draw the eye, supported by 12 -18 month old movies (and they don’t need every studio on board, just enough of them) , and every episode of a hundred syndicated series.

    I agree with you on costs (and that is what his beef has been all along IO, not which content they are choosing, just how much they were paying for it). But this is hwo they move forward, if these deals were not going through, wouldn’t you worry about stagnation?

  17. Robb says:

    This is all about costs. Red Envelope may have delivered the kind of movies I want to see, but remember at that point the indie market cost for acquisition had ramped up to an ridiculous level. It was smart to get out and not pay mid 7 figures for indie films with no real chance of making the money back when you factored in P&A. Also, lets not forget that marketing and distribution do actually take some skill and that wasnt their core competency.

    This is the beginning of the same thing for series production, its the first step in the expansion of costs for the marketplace for original series. Bidding wars are a bad thing for content distributors in any way. Cable has 2 revenue streams to make up for it and still look at how FX (fox) has controlled costs in order to build a destination. HBO is a legacy business that people who get once just continue with. Showtime has done a great job catching up, but still inst there yet.

    Sure Netflix is shifting their model again, tweaking it to find additional value, because they know even as the increase subscribers that the competition is increasing. No one has the answer yet. Remember Comcast is still trying to figure out how to amp up its charges on Level 3 because of Netflix and to make them pay more because of how much of the pipe they take up.

    Look, i love the Starz deal, because otherwise i would never have seen a show like Party Down. However you know that the valuations for the series produced are going to be sky high next time around. Netflix just changed there own valuations and made it public. If hollywood on the business side knows how to do one thing it’s bleed the golden cow dry. We say exploit the library for a reason.

  18. David Poland says:

    The problem, hcat, is that Netflix is already finding out that it’s more of a stagnant business than the media and Wall Street would like to believe. The growth they have had in the last 24 months is almost impossible to continue. Between churn and the glass ceiling, they just can’t expand as much as they’d like.

    I have no basic problem with them trying to go all FX on us, but 1. None of us pay for FX, 2. FX already has dumped fairly decently rated programs because of cost (Damages), 3. The HBO/Showtime model is series, emphasis on the multiple, spread out over 45 weeks of the year or so. And in the process of converting, HBO had a big boost from DVD that is no longer part of the game.

    In spite of what IO keeps insisting, the level of high end programming has never crossed my mind. Try to hear me this time, IO. It’s not what I like or don’t like. I’m not giving up my Netflix account anytime soon. I use Netflix on my phone, iPad, and TV and am perfectly happy with the service. But it’s not about me. It’s about audiences and who you reach and how and how willing they are to pay.

    If you are now paying $8 a month – a bargain – and are getting all the old stuff, plus three studios worth of movies, on and off, how will you as a customer feel if what you are paying for becomes reduced to one major and Lionsgate? Or two majors? What if you can buy a different package that has earlier access and more content that you want? That’s Showtime and HBO. Not everyone who has one chooses to pay for both. Now, in this example, let’s say there are 4 HBOs out there and 4 Showtimes. Is $64 a month okay for your budget, on top of whatever you pay to see TV?

    Chris Lux – Yes, I agree that Amazon has natural marathoners legs in this situation compared to others. But the word “threat” is what I object to. Netflix will not end up, in my opinion, being defined by the other players in streaming. Until studios set things up for themselves – or with companies they buy to do so – there will be very little exclusivity out there. And once they do, it will be as closed off as cable TV is, leaving companies like Hulu and Netflix as brands, but not as the leaders. They will have to figure out the cost/benefit of mature businesses, not model breakers. And that’s a big challenge in an environment where everything is available all the time in every delivery mode. And that is coming.

    Matt – I don’t see the technical advantage as real. The price on the tech side is only getting lower and the tools are getting more sophisticated. It’s PC, not Mac… VHS, not Betamax.

  19. IOv3 says:

    Hcat: David keeps bringing up the content FIRST. Go read the last three of these. His displeasure with the content is a continued bit of dissatisfaction David shares every time he discusses Netflix.

    David: I get your point but those are hypothetical at this point. if they change their pricing structure (which they did once to much strife and ageda), people will bitch, but it’s an ubiquitous service. It’s everywhere, they have a hugeness other’s lack, and the studios have to deal with them at the moment.

    You also keep insinuating that they won’t re-up their deals and I ask you; why not?

  20. hcat says:

    Everyone who has cable pays for FX. On one hand I can look at it as only paying the carriage fee, but out of my families viewing habits, I would estimate that one 3rd of the time we are watching cable it is on FX so I can logistically say watching that network costs me about 10 bucks a month. I know the idea is that I pay for access for everything but if I look at the actual value I take out of cable subscription this is the cost.

    Damages was a beloved show with just under a million regular viewers. Not highly rated as compared to its other shows. Given the expense it is not suprising it was not renewed. The Netflix series will not have this problem since it will be seen as was The Sheild and Mad Men as a loss leader to gain new ground, but once the networks are up and running with a few shows the critical acclaim will take a backseat to actual viewership. Look at AMC’s current mess with Mad Men renewel, there is no way they would be arguing over price of a show that brings in three million viewers a week if they didn’t have another show that just brought in over 5 million (and probably considerably younger to boot).

    Now a point can be made that Netflix needs less loss leaders and more actual revenue creaters. But that is the mail thru business that I would suspect most people still subscribe to and allows them access to content sooner (or at least cheaper) than any of the streaming alternatives. If another company offers this two pronged attack (will Redbox offer free kiosk rentals with online subscription? will Amazon allow 3 New Release rentals with their package?) I can see Netflix facing problems, but as of right now they are still moving forward with everyone else trying to catch up with their wake.

    And if Netflix wanted to something really cool with original programming, they would try to get Mad Men away from AMC and air the next few season exclusivly through their system. I am not sure what the hold up is with the fifth season but grabbing a instantly recognizable show with a ultra devoted fanbase would be bold move. Beats having to create a buzz for a new show from scratch.

  21. hcat says:

    IO, he talks about content because they need it and don’t own it and is thinking the studios or Starz will not reup the deals because they will be too pricey. I am not sure about that, before Netflix StarzPlay was worth nothing, no one used it. $30 extra million a year was a revenue boost for Starz and a great content grab for Netflix. Now that there are other players Starz will make a play for more money but I doubt it will be as high as everyone is saying. I would be shocked at it going over $100 million annually. For anything more than that NF could just try to sign Sony up for exclusivity erasing half of Starz content and a no online revenue stream. NF only needs a few studios worth of content to make themselves a value just as Starz and HBO have a few studios each (Showtime doesn’t have anything, all their theatricals seem to be either Summit or Magnolia).

    People have been playing taps for Netflix for years but they are a smart limber company and has a real shot at becoming a permanent fixture in the entertainment industry much as HBO has.

  22. IOv3 says:

    Hcat, he basically stated his displeasure with the content, on a personal level, in a previous post. This post starts out with him bringing up the content again. It seems to bother him at great deal and that just seems weird to me.

    I do agree with you about grabbing Mad Men. The fact that AMC does not want to pay for the show that put their network on the map because the ZOMBIE SHOW has more viewers, is just stupid.

  23. David Poland says:

    IO… Content is their business. Subscriptions are to access content. I don’t know how you are making it about MY content needs.

    And the reason they can’t re-up everything is because it would cost more than they make. Doing deals with all studios would be over $1.5 billion in non-exclusive deals. But even Starz, which would keep them with 3 of the 6 majors, is going to push them around $900 million in content costs, IF they can do the deal. They would have to expand their subscriber base by 5 million or 1/3rd, minimally, to make that a break even situation.

    That’s why.

    And regardless of what I think, that’s the only reason for them to be investing in TV series. They aren’t spending because they love television. It’s about trying to maintain their image as all-encompassing… something else to hype… and to keep the base from churning.

  24. David Poland says:

    hcat… Paramount (and MGM, which is partial library only) was $200m a year. How could Disney and Sony be half of that?

    I agree that Netflix will be permanent. It just won’t be dominant, unless purchased by a dominant studio or a number of studios jointly.

  25. hcat says:

    Why would Netflix pay Starz more for the content than Starz pays for the content itself? The ever shrinking pay cable fees are what 7-10% of domestic box office? The two studios combined might cost Starz 300 million a year tops but to expect that Netflix is going to cover half the cost is an unreasonable expection.

    If I had only one supplier of goods for my business then yes that supplier would have me over a barrel for price, but since NF has another pay movie channel (and one that is not available on all cable systems so in some areas Netflix is the best avenue to watch PLGMGM content) in its pipeline it has the luxery to walk away. Leaving Starz where it was, with a streaming service that no one uses and without the $30 million in annual revenue (or $100 million or whatever NF’s highest offer is).

    Just like the value of my house, Starz content is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Redbox, Hulu or Amazon could step up but at the $200 million or more pricetag that you say, and they certainly do not have the subscription base to justify that. Maybe the next go round of negotiations but right now Netflix is by far the only one tossing down 9 figure deals.

  26. Mr. Wu says:

    I don’t stream. I’m really only interested in the DVDs. Since I got my first DVD player 12 years ago, I’ve found that this device, along with a Netflix subscription, did more to broaden and cement my love of movies than anything possibly ever could. What a concept it is to be able to actually see the movies you read about in books. But with the recent pricey acquisitions of rights to streaming content, I have begun to see what appears to be a shift of focus away from maintaining and adding to the DVD library. Now, I can understand why Netflix may be reticent to spend hundreds to dollars to acquire a title little ol’ me is going to watch once (but how else will I ever see The Tarnished Angels?) and will likely be stolen, er, “lost in the mail” by other customers. And now the subscription fees go up. So my question is, should I elect a lower cost plan if I don’t stream? If I do this, I get fewer discs per month, my cost per movie goes up, and the company saves on postage. Hmm. Can I win? It’s still a good value but I’m beginning to feel a little left out here. Because, you know, it’s all about this guy.

  27. IOv3 says:

    David, you have made at least three digs at the Netflix content and how it does not work for you. You also started this post off with a jab at the content in terms of cineastes. I find it odd that you keep bringing up the content, when the content is not brought up by most people about Netflix.

    Sure, we would want everything streamed, but that’s unrealistic at this point. The content is fine for what it is and it’s getting better which each deal. Deals that should not balloon out of control unless someone else negotiates for them. Right this second, name another company that has Netflix’s capacity? Seriously, name another, and realize that Disney and Sony or any other studio would be foolish to not use Netflix as their go-between, because doing so would require going somewhere else or building it themselves.

    Once again, do you see any studio wanting to spend the money to start their own streaming service?

    ETA: If it’s not about streaming Mr. Wu, then what’s the point really? We all took a vote and unfortunately you were in the minority. Please, stream like the rest of us, and buy your DVDs used off of Amazon.

  28. hcat says:

    Mr. Wu as streaming increases the avalibility of the discs you want will increase. As for the price increases, I paid 19.99 for three discs when I signed up in 02, now I pay 22.99 for three blu-ray plus unlimited streaming. Look at the increase in the cost of cable and theater tickets in that time, you are still getting a huge bargain.

    And one more note with the Epix deal, the studios own the content that plays on Epix. Starz is a middleman in this deal, all they own is a sword and boobie show, NF may not be so keen on throwing top dollar out to pay the guy who pays the guy.

  29. LexG says:

    Blockbuster Power.

    All the movies right there on the shelf plus you get the HANDSOME CASE with the cover art, not some ratty SLEEVE with a scratched-up POS inside.

    Also STREAM my balls. I’m not gonna sit at my laptop like an asshole hunched over watching a work of art on a 2-inch screen.

    If I wanted to do that, I’d go to work.

  30. storymark says:

    Lex…. you realize streaming hasn’t been confined to computers for a few years now?

    And Blockbuster blows.

  31. Mr. Wu says:

    If I’m in the minority, doesn’t this automatically qualify me for special privileges? You wouldn’t want to my feelings to be hurt. Damn democracy.

    I have streamed, I just don’t prefer it because of the effect it has on my overall cost of living. Lying in bed one Sunday morning watching “Bicycle Thieves” was just fine, and “Red River” was just as good through the Xbox as it was on DVD a few months later. But to set myself up properly is going to cost $100+ extra a month (just to watch TV!), money that can be better spent on black market penicillin and less rusty crutches for my crippled children. So I expect to have my needs serviced or else I’ll, I’ll … I’ll take to the internet in a huff and register my displeasure.

    And that’s what Mr. Wu thinks he is entitled to.

  32. Winning says:

    “Lex… you realize streaming hasn’t been confined to computers for a few years now?”

    Yeah? Well, it’s fucking confined to mine, so I don’t give a shit.

    Ain’t no way to run movies from my computer in a 27-inch JVC from 1998, and I goddamn sure don’t play VIDEO GAMES, so no GAMING CONSOLE.

    And I really don’t think this is technology that THE MASSES have or care about– ROKU, streaming, BluRay.

    Most Americans, LIKE ME, still use the VCR.

  33. LexG says:

    Oops, forgot to change my screen name back from my last banning.

    In other news, Storymark still a condescending prick.

  34. hcat says:

    I know I just can’t let this go but the Starz deal is not for Disney and Sony content, it is for whatever happens to be playing on Starz which at the moment is Disney and Sony. Since people seem to be in agreement that Disney is the most likely to bolt pay cable and do their own subscription thing it seems like a poor decision to pay a premium for a five year deal when one of the primary providers might not be there in two.

    And I would not want to be the Starz executive that goes to the Board or shareholders to explain that they left a hundred million a year on the table from the company with a 61% market share because they hope they can get 2 hundred million from a company with 4%.

  35. storymark says:

    Most people still use VCRs, huh?

    So, how is it living in 97 Lex?

  36. LexG says:

    More people still use VCRs than you’d think.

    I use my VCR like 10, 15 times a week to tape all my stories (Bachelor, Top Model, AI, Lights Out, Amazing Race, Undercover Boss.) Fuck a TIVO (IMPOSSIBLE to figure out how to set up), and NO ONE has a DVR unless they’re a millionaire. Who the fuck sits there watching TV shows on HULU or Amazon or whatever?



  37. Krillian says:

    Since someone up there mentioned FX, I’ll just throw out here that Justified is one of the coolest shows on TV. Love it, love it.

    Also, I’d been disappointed by V, but the season finale was epic enough to make me hope it gets one more season.

    Current RotTom’s for this week’s new releases:
    87% – Lincoln Lawyer
    70% – Paul
    63% – Limitless

  38. yancyskancy says:

    I’m sure these things vary from service to service, but I’m paying $9.99 a month on my cable bill for a regular DVR on my standard TV and another $13.99 for the HD DVR for my HD TV. I’ve never had TiVo, but DVRs are quite simple to use. My only complaint about my current service is that these DVRs hold fewer hours per unit than my previous service, so it can fill up pretty fast. I occasionally lose something as a result.

  39. LexG says:

    Yancy, yes, but you’re a millionaire.

    I make 33k after taxes, 100% of which goes to debt.


  40. hcat says:

    “I use my VCR like 10, 15 times a week to tape all my stories (Bachelor, Top Model, AI, Lights Out, Amazing Race, Undercover Boss.)”

    Then do you watch them in your housecoat and curlers chainsmoking Benson and Hedges? Between this list and your love of Gere I’m beginning to think you might be the alter ego of some 55 year old obese divorcee.

  41. IOv3 says:

    Yeah I used to have two DVRS because Comcast used to have shitty storage capacity. Now through the power of Uverse, it’s DVR heaven. Seriously, who uses a VCR to record shows in the 21st century? What the fuck Lexy? What the fuck.

  42. storymark says:

    The only purpose my VCR has served in the last 7 years or so was as a clock.

  43. scooterzz says:

    i still have a dubbing station hooked up with a black-box vcr, dvd burner and monitor that i once used for copying tapes that weren’t available on dvd…haven’t used it in a while and should probably scrap it but then….somebody gives me a tape of the ‘star wars christmas special’ and a holiday dvd is born….until every vhs tape in existence is on dvd, i will always have a vcr….jus’ sayin’….

  44. Chunkbalunky says:

    There are some interesting points in here but almost none of them are facts. One truth is that Netflix has pioneered the field of feature film screening. And in doing so they have found competition in the form of companies like Amazon and yes, they have had to deal a pig Hollywood system that that wants your blood and gold for their for their product when nobody within their system could such an infrastructure in the first place. Netflix will have to secure better deals and better content. Their streaming library is thin on good material. On the other hand, 90% of Hollywoods slated releases for the next year are adapted content: sequels, adaptations of some form, and remakes. Perhaps this venture into producting content will prove a new distro model for great independent work. Imagine netflix buying 10 great new indie films from festivals at the wopping cost of 50million or what if they funded them from the get go.

  45. YancySkancy says:

    Shakira: Why would you want it “hard and fast” when Netflix makes it easy and fast? Or are you talking about something else?

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon