A reader participated in one of Netflix's many customer surveys, and one of the questions asked "...how likely would you or someone in your household be to a Netflix Instant Streaming Disc for the Nintendo Wii (available for free) in order to instantly watch movies & TV episodes on your TV?"
Update from Netflix: "All is well again. Images are loading properly."
Netflix is currently experiencing a strange website bug: no images. Netflixhelps on Twitter: "Some users reporting no images on the website...we're hard at work on it. Thanks for your patience."
An "inventory free" approach for managing rental items across a plurality of distribution locations includes sending at least some rental items that are not needed by two or more distribution locations to a designated distribution location. Rental items sent to the designated distribution location may be permanently stored at the designated distribution location, returned to the distribution location from which they were sent, or sent to other distribution locations, depending upon where the rental items are needed. In situations where particular rental items are not currently needed by customers at a distribution location, but there is a high likelihood that the particular rental items will be needed by the customers within a specified time, the particular rental items may be maintained at the distribution location as "float" and not sent to the designated distribution location. The float is re-processed as returned rental items prior to being again rented to customers. The determination of whether customers need, or do not need, a particular rental item may be made based upon a wide variety of criteria such as time criteria, actual and predicted customer demand for rental items, actual and predicted returns of rental items, Net Ships and predicted loss and breakage of rental items.
Netflix is now letting users know when streaming titles will be available by adding "Instant" dates or "Coming Soon" in the Queue.
But the product's early 2008 public unveiling neared, several senior Netflix executives began to express misgivings about straying into the unfamiliar hardware business. The box would never have mass appeal if it was limited to accessing Netflix's movie services, some argued.
Barry McCarthy, Netflix's chief financial officer, was one of the skeptics. "Are we out of our f- minds?" Mr. McCarthy recalls thinking about the hardware plans. "We don't even know what we don't know about this business." He describes Mr. Hastings's infatuation with the project with two words: "Apple lust."
Mr. Hastings concedes that he "fell in love with building boxes" and that part of the inspiration was watching Apple Inc. use its hardware to sell online content. Apple, too, is seeking to bring Internet video to TV sets through its iTunes Store and a box called Apple TV. "Every entrepreneur is a Steve Jobs wannabe," he says. "I was as guilty of that as anybody."
The Associated Press takes a look at Redbox and the threat it poses to Netflix, Redbox's Machines Take on Netflix's Envelopes. On a recent quarterly earnings call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said DVD kiosks would be his #1 competitor by the end of the year.
The number of DVD kiosks is growing quickly: Redbox now has 15,400, and Blockbuster plans on rolling out 10,000. Another reason he might worry: one of Reed Hastings key people is now president of Redbox:
Mitch Lowe, Redbox's president, came to the company after six years with Netflix, where he was vice president of business development. While at Netflix, he managed one of the company's competitive advantages: a popular system that recommends lesser-known movies to subscribers based on ratings for films they've already watched. That helps Netflix's 10.3 million customers sift through 100,000 movie titles.
Tidbits from the story: More than 4 million people used a Redbox kiosk last month, and there are now more DVD rental kiosks in the U.S. than video stores.
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