Netflix Flexes Flicks and Feels Flak

March 19, 2011

I am sitting on a manuscript that describes Google’s video technology. I am not sure I will do much with it. I am wrapping up a look at the big six in enterprise search. Companies other than Google are showing their guns in streaming rich media. (A “gun” one of my young tech goslings told me is the new term for bicep. Ah, sort of like “governance” or “business intelligence”. Slang. Got it.

My own approach to slang is “Netflix Flexes Flicks”, but it lacks the euphony of “House of Cards.” I am not a streaming media fan. Heck, I don’t care much about feature films. After the popcorn, I go to sleep. Netflix seems to be a force in the rich media niche and the company is getting into original programming. Netflix is, despite my inattention, like one of the people on the cover of a muscle magazine. Netflix is not someone I would taunt by kicking sand it its face.

Several observations.

First, Netflix, maybe more than Amazon, has already gone where Google’s patent applications described. Maybe Google can blow past Netflix and marginalize Amazon? Maybe not? Netflix, which someone told me taps into Amazon’s cloud services, is out lifting Amazon and Amazon knows what Netflix is up to. Even with that knowledge it is the Netflix news that lights up the rich media consumer.

Second, Netflix seems to be positioning itself where cable companies want to be or hope to stay. Darned surprising is that. I am not sure that the cable companies, despite their wires to the domicile and the other valuation boosters, can respond in a satisfactory manner. Netflix is just more technically adept for the rich media crowd. Not even Apple is able to hide Netflix’s gym locker key.

Third, the networks may want to pay more attention to Netflix. I don’t know much about Hulu, but Netflix could make life interesting for Hulu. Internecine warfare can distract folks from a more serious threat in my experience.

Two other issues warrant a quick comment.

  1. Netflix may feel more legal heat.
  2. Netflix may be chasing some Facebook love.

Bottomline: I may have to gear up to pay attention to Netflix, its open source search system, and its ability to disrupt. And Google? Well, not so interesting in the rich media space at the moment. But those patent applications make useful reading because the background sections of some of these open source Google documents explain market opportunities companies like Netflix are just grabbing.

Stephen E Arnold, March 19, 2011



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