Home Streaming Surpasses DVDs on Netflix: Streaming-Only Option Inevitable

Streaming Surpasses DVDs on Netflix: Streaming-Only Option Inevitable

If there was any doubt that Netflix would begin moving toward a streaming-only offering, a quote resurfaced this morning from the company’s quarterly report makes it all too clear that Netflix will embrace the “net” of its moniker.

According to the report, Netflix has become predominantly streaming, with a majority of its users watching more content streamed online than on DVD.

James McQuivey, a Forrester analyst, writes on Paid Content that “Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail.” The quote McQuivey found so interesting describes a service that has dramatically shifted from primarily delivering DVDs to primarily serving streaming content:

“In Q4 a majority of Netflix subscribers will watch more content streamed from Netflix than delivered on DVD. With that transition in the business from mostly DVD to mostly streaming, this will be the last quarter the company will report this metric.”

Last month, we examined statements by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings pointing to a streaming-only service for the U.S. Currently, streaming-only is only available in Canada. At that time, Hastings had said that “If our results are as strong as we think they will be, then we will look to start this offering later in this Q4. Pure streaming could become our core offering in the USA, and DVD would be offered as a supplement for an additional charge, like we offer Blu-ray today.”

The fact that streaming video has overtaken DVDs as the primary form of content consumption for Netflix users seems like a good indication that a streaming-only option is soon on the way.

As McQuivey notes, with users watching Netflix on devices like Xbox and soon Google and Apple TV, streaming video is taking over that same screen real estate once owned by the DVD and “the percent of subscribers that watch instantly is no longer just material to the business, it is the business.”

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