Netflix is expanding its reach by inking deals with three different cable services that will enable customers and subscribers to stream their content as if it were a real television channel. The online streaming service reached an agreement with RCN Telecom Services, Grande Communications, and Atlantic Broadband to feature an app directly on the TiVo boxes that each company provides to customers. The new deal will cover over 500,000 viewers and that number is likely to expand when new customers sign up for the services offered by each company.
Individuals who are interested in utilizing the app on their TiVo box must be a customer with one of the cable providers as well as having an active account with Netflix. Viewers will be able to start streaming content on Monday, and only customers with a set-top box will have access to the app. This is good news for individuals who do not own a third-party device capable of streaming Netflix content to their TV, as they will now be able to do so directly through the cable box.
The idea of becoming a “cable channel” is a part of Netflix’s plan to begin competing with competitors like HBO or Showtime. The online content innovator has already started making a name for itself in the world of entertainment by creating high quality original content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. With Netflix and YouTube changing the way people consume entertainment, the idea of transferring the platform to cable seems like a no-brainer and is one that should have HBO biting their fingernails.
Netflix had a few hurdles to jump over in order to make the deal happen as it required negotiations with their content partners to allow movies and television episodes to be streamed through the cable boxes. Contrary to what many subscribers of Netflix seem to believe, the company cannot just go out and take any film or television show and upload it to their server for all of their customer’s to enjoy. The film studios and creators own the rights to the content, and therefore, Netflix must negotiate deals in order to acquire the proper licensing to post the content online. The same process was required to get permission to have their catalog streamed through the TiVo cable boxes.
Atlantic Broadband explained that they would be including Netflix as a channel on their program guide, enabling customers to turn the service on by simply selecting the channel from the guide menu. This makes accessing the app painless, which is especially nice for those who may not be tech savvy.
This is a good move for Netflix as it opens up the streaming service to new customers that might not have wanted to watch content on their computers, but did not have a third-party streaming device for their television. Netflix continues to evolve into what will likely be a complete media empire that gives regular cable services a run for their money. Many have already cut their previous cable subscriptions and have replaced it with Netflix as it is a more affordable way to access quality entertainment. It is only a matter of time before Netflix becomes available on other cable services, as the deal made with these three companies is just the beginning of a new era.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell
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