Friday, May 6, 2011

Wal-Mart, Amazon, Best Buy, Hulu, Dish Network Consider Taking on Netflix

Netflix's days without competition may be numbered. (San Jose Mercury News, 5/6/2011)

Excerpt:  Netflix (NFLX) has attracted more than 20 million subscribers, more than 20,000 movies and television shows for its online service, and more than its share of headaches in Hollywood.

There's one thing it has yet to attract: competition. Netflix is the only company that streams a large selection of movies and TV shows online for a monthly fee.

That will probably change. Retail giants such as Wal-Mart Stores,, and Best Buy, Internet television provider Hulu, and satellite broadcaster Dish Network are weighing plans to launch online subscription video services or expand nascent ones to take on Netflix, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Such moves would win cheers in Hollywood, where many are worried that Netflix is amassing too much clout. Some also believe that Netflix's fast-growing customer base is buying fewer DVDs and watching less television, contributing to the financial struggles of studios.

"This is a battleground that's just starting to brew," said Dave Sanderson, head of the global media practice for Bain & Co. "Over the next two or three years you're going to see a proliferation of options, and then a handful of winners emerge

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