Netflix in Heated Race for Online Movies

Company offers 5% of flicks online, and stays relevant by picking up indie fare
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2007 3:10 PM CDT
Netflix in Heated Race for Online Movies
Mei Michelson prepares to return movies to Netflix from her home in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2007. The company has 5% of its fare available online, but is competing with the likes of Amazon to make all movies downloadable. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)   (Associated Press)

They beat Blockbuster, but can Netflix outpace rivals in the race to show downloaded movies on TV? "It's like a three-act play, and we're in the opening minutes of the second act," said Netflix exec Steve Swasey. Act two is where startups like Vudu take on giants like Amazon to plug home TVs into the ‘Net—while Netflix tries to adapt before its DVDs hit the dumpster, the Washington Post reports.   

Netflix launched online viewing of about 5% of flicks in January, and 10 million have been seen so far, a paltry stat next to its 1.6 million DVD rentals per day. But the company also competes by picking up indie flicks that others reject, like John Waters’ This Filthy World. Netflix is “making available films that you cannot see in your local theater, and that's incredibly important," Waters said.  (Read more Netflix stories.)

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