Even Apple is afraid of this company (I think). If they weren’t, then why would they let them come standard on the new AppleTV and offer a service that is essentially a competitor to their iTunes movie rental business?
The company I’m talking about is Netflix. If there is one company that should have everyone from Apple to the cable companies quaking it is Netflix.
The announcement that Netflix is standard on AppleTV solidified the company’s position as the default service to get content over the Internet. Over the past 10 years or so, while content producers, cable companies and others fiddled with Hulu, pay walls, and other ideas, Netflix built the library and the audience and to take over the steaming content market the same way Apple took over the gizmo market.
Sure, Amazon and HuluPlus also have interesting offerings but they are more a compliment to an existing Netflix account, not a replacement. Yes, Amazon and HuluPlus offer some content you can’t find on Netflix, but there is also a lot of overlap (Why do I need to watch 30 Rock on HuluPlus with commercials when I can watch it commercial-free on Netflix?)
Even the bankers are getting in on deal! The other week CrediteSuisse pretty much called out Netflix as one of the main (among the many) nails in the coffin of cable companies. They estimated that a third of viewers age 25-34 use Netflix to cut their cable. While sadly I’m no longer in that prized demographic, I am among the Netflix-powered cable cutters.
Netflix is more than just a clever movie streaming service, it is defining the new content distribution model. When the history of online content is written Netflix will be lauded as one of the main agents that dismantled the old system and founded the new.