Netflix is taking over Hollywood. What started as a DVD-by-mail rental service 10 years ago has become an all-you-can-watch, instant-stream entertainment cornucopia, providing more than 20 million subscribers with more than 20,000 movie and TV titles, all at the push of a button. DVD sales are slackening. Less TV is being watched. Studios are losing money. But retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart are hoping to break up a Netflix nation, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"Over the next two or three years you're going to see a proliferation of options, and then a handful of winners emerge," says one media analyst. Amazon recently launched its first video subscription service, Prime Instant Videos. Wal-Mart's Vudu and Best Buy's CinemaNow might shift to be more like Netlfix. Hulu and Dish Network probably won't be far behind. Netflix's decision to buy almost $2 billion in streamed content in 2012 signals its aggressive strategy, but retailers' and cable companies' capacity to market to large, built-in audiences shouldn't be underestimated. One number to watch: If Netflix gets to 30 million subscribers, it will be hard to unseat, notes the LAT.