It's been obvious for a long time that Hollywood is not exactly BFF with Netflix, most obviously manifested in the rental windows that make subscribers wait a month for new movies—if not longer—as Hollywood tries to milk as much DVD revenue as possible before it all dries up. Despite Hollywood's efforts to cramp its growth, afraid of it becoming the next iTunes, Netflix has just gotten bigger. So studios are going to try to make things even worse for Netflix to make you watch it less.
Cnet's Greg Sandoval reports attitudes even among supporters in Hollywood have shifted as Netflix has become huge, disrupting the studios' revenue models by neutering sales of airline movies, making films untouchable by cable networks and even mildly affected new DVD sales—yes, some people are that patient, waiting for them to show up on streaming. If it's up to the studios, here's what'll happen in response, according to Sandoval:
Netflix will be the Internet equivalent of a swap meet, where only the most dated and least popular titles are available. The studios are betting that eventually people will get bored with the service.
They want it to be an outlet for "the least-valuable material," i.e., the crap you don't want to watch. Criterion pulling out would just be the beginning.
Screwing over Netflix and its subscribers when it comes to the content they wanna watch is only part of Hollywood's genius plan to make more money, of course—the other part, says Sandoval, is pushing UltraViolet, a new DRM scheme cooked up for cloud-based movie storage and watching, the idea being you can watch digital stuff on anything, anywhere. Of course, I'm totally sure it won't be a huge flustercuck like every massive DRM scheme cooked up by movie studios and record labels.
Beyond that, though, if the studios won't let Netflix become the One True Service to get all your movies, what does that say for any service that they push instead? (Facebook?) The TV networks, for instance, have largely dicked their own spawn, Hulu. They can make this UltraViolet stuff as interoperable as they want, but here's the thing: I don't wanna subscribe to 3 or 4 or 5 different services to get the movies I wanna watch. I want to pay one fee to one service and that's it. I'll pay more than $8 a month, sure. But I'm not paying it out to 20 different people. And I'm not the only one. In the meantime, thank sweet developers for Queuenoodle so we can prioritize our streaming movie queues by expiration date.