End Possibly In Sight For DVDs

According to Netflix executives, the days of the DVD may be numbered – but the replacement media isn’t Blu-ray.

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix said in a Montley Fool podcast that sometime within the next two years, DVDs may no longer be the number one source of the company’s video distribution.  He did not give any specific predictions for what would assume the top spot, but it can be inferred from several statements in the podcast that he doesn’t believe Blu-ray will assume the crown.  If that’s true, then he is echoing the sentiments of many theorists that have spoken up since Blu-ray won the format war with HD-DVD.

Hastings revealed that there is a growing trend among Netflix subscribers to switch their plans.  Members are now renting only one DVD at a time, and taking greater advantage of the unlimited streaming option that Netflix offers with most of its plans.

A few days after Hastings’s remarks, a clarification was released by Netflix corporate communications director Steve Swasey.  The truth of the matter is that all of Netflix’s services, including DVD and Blu-ray rentals, are growing. “You can’t say on eformat is going out or down, all are growing,” he said.

He also explained the reason that streaming video’s popularity is on such a steep rise.  The service was introduced less than two years ago, and advancing technology makes it increasingly easy and convenient to use.  It makes sense, now that it’s possible to save the days of waiting and the anxious peeks into the mailbox, opting instead for instantly accessing videos from the subscriber’s computer.  It’s now even more possible, with access available from the Xbox 36o, HDTVs that enable broadband, and set-top boxes.

Currently, according to the usually reliable Netflix Blog, Blu-ray is used by an unimpressive ten percent of Netflix subscribers, and there is no evidence that figure will fluxuate up or down any time soon  Netflix will continue offering them for the foreseeable future, as well as standard DVDs.

The Netflix formula, which has been extremely successful and will continue to be used, is to offer bundled service, giving subscribers the option of how they want to view their selections.

Swasey said that putting a finger on the exact date that DVDs would disappear would be like predicting the date of electric cars’ victory over gas-powered cars.  It will be a matter of what the public wants, needs, and uses the most.

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