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Netflix thinks its customers are too dumb to download video

Bill Snyder | Sept. 10, 2015
Amazon Prime subscribers can now download select movies and TV shows for offline viewing, but Netflix says it won't enable downloads because the option will confuse its customers.

But that doesn't make sense either. Obviously, users don't always have access to Wi-Fi or cellular connections when they want to watch a movie.

Netflix competition ramps up

It's often hard to know why investors go hot and cold on a company, but Netflix stock took a beating recently, even if you discount the recent gyrations on Wall Street. Maybe it's the competition. Netflix is clearly the leader in streaming video, but Amazon and others are stepping up their games.

Hulu, for example, recently announced a new commercial-free premium service for an extra $4 a month, along with a content agreement with cable network Epix to pick up a long list of streaming movies that Netflix dropped when the company ended its own Epix partnership.

Netflix has a history of making big mistakes — and ultimately learning from them. A few years ago, the company tried to separate its then-new streaming business from its traditional DVD-by-mail operation, and charge more for both options. Users went nuts, Wall Street hated it, and the company quickly backed off.

I also covered a speech at Stanford by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last year, and the man is clearly no dummy. Hopefully the burgeoning competition makes Hastings and his team realize their users aren't dummies, either.


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