Friday, February 18, 2011

Netflix News: Me and Orson Welles, Criterion/Hulu, Commercials

Interesting news via Instant Watcher: ME AND ORSON WELLES (2008), which inexplicably had a quite limited release on DVD, was added to Netflix Watch Instantly streaming yesterday.

It's also available for rental on DVD.

I reviewed the movie last November.

In other news, earlier this week it was announced that the Hulu Plus streaming service has acquired exclusive rights to show Criterion Collection DVDs. Criterion has posted a FAQ on their Facebook page.

For my part, I don't have much interest in subscribing to a streaming service which has commercials. Indeed, it seems that Hulu Plus is turning into a hybrid where the web meets cable TV.

Hulu Plus says its commercials will precede the Criterion films, rather than interrupting them.

Netflix, which, thanks to the new emphasis on streaming, increasingly seems more like a huge "on demand" cable service itself, so far is holding steady against commercials, with an exec saying, "The topic of bringing advertising to the company's streaming service has been brought to the table from time to time over at Netflix but the arguments in favor of ads haven't been all that compelling. Every time, we shoot it down."

It's interesting that CEO Reed Hastings currently describes the company as "a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail."

Previously: Criterion DVDs Leaving Netflix Instant Play, August 24, 2010.


Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

My beau told me that he heard a client of his say that Netflix will go all Instant in the future with no DVD shipping. I don't quite believe that because of how many movies & TV shows are NOT available on Netflix Instant. Especially after Criterion pulled their movies from Instant, I think it's becoming more like the Comcast On Demand. Some junk with hidden treasures you really have to search for.

I was thinking about all of this today so I was happy to see your post about this. I haven't explored Hulu Plus but I think it's sad about the advertising. I think if you pay for movies, ads should not come with them. I'm fine with ads prior to a movie but not during! What a way to ruin the experience. And bravo to Netflix for staying away from that altogether.

Just want to say, that I really rely on you as a source of information. I've never been good at staying up-to-date with all the classic film related "news" but you are always on top of things.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much, Raquelle, I really enjoy "surfing" for news and being able to share it with others who are interested. :) I'm very glad to know you find news here that's of value to you.

I've read myself that eventually Netflix sees itself going all streaming -- they are no longer opening new DVD distribution centers. However, there are drawbacks, such as you mention. And, to mention another drawback, what about extras which are only available on DVDs? (Although, as we've discussed here before, some studios provide DVDs to Netflix stripped of all extras.) Extras, as well as having titles permanently available (not at the whim of programmers or contracts) are also reasons I value owning a collection.

Speaking for myself, I've got a significant number of things I'm interested in seeing in my Netflix instant queue, but I've read other comments in line with your take. I'm assuming that over time they're going to be adding more and more titles so hopefully there will soon be something for every taste!

Best wishes,

12:40 PM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

I also don't like that Netflix Instant doesn't have closed caption. In fact, that's a big grip I have with Warner Archive too. I think they are discounting hard-of-hearing customers as well as customers like myself, who are not hard-of-hearing but have problems picking up words and don't necessarily want to blast the sound! I heard that Netflix wants to add (or has added) closed caption to Instant but I have yet to see it for myself. :-(

12:04 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Raquelle!

Here's an older post which briefly mentions the closed captioning issue. It sounds like part of the issue is Netflix making the captioning available and the other part is individual streaming services -- Wii offers captioning if it's available, and Roku is said to be working on adding it.

I would hope and expect that there will continue to be technological advances and other changes which will allow the captioning to be more widely available in the future...I'll be watching for news on that.

As far as Warner Archive, I think that the lack of captions is an unfortunate aspect of the "stripped down" DVD model which also eliminates conveniences such as chapter selections. It's a mixed blessing -- many more titles available, yet at a greater price and without the benefits and extras we're used to receiving with our DVD purchases.

As always, your comments are very much appreciated!

Best wishes,

12:32 PM  

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