Netflix names allies in cable war
In a strong message to Comcast and other foes, the online movie streamer posts a list of the best Internet providers for watching videos.
The company is sending a message to the Comcasts and Time Warners of the world: If you mess with us, we'll tell your customers about it.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix chief Reed Hastings said that starting today, he'll post a list of the Internet providers offering the best and most consistent experience for streaming videos. The top one, he says, is Charter Communications (CHTR).
This gets at the heart of some ongoing nastiness between Netflix and a few cable companies -- namely, Comcast (CMCSA). Netflix customers are bandwidth hogs, and some reports say that at peak times, their video streaming ties up 20% of downstream Internet traffic.
By the way, Netflix reported earnings this week, and the following video covers the numbers.
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Cable providers need more resources to support this spike in streaming, and they aren't happy about it. They want Netflix to pay. Comcast, for example, wants to slap a fee on one of Netflix's delivery partners, Level 3 Communications (LVLT), whenever a Netflix customer requests a streaming video on its system.
"Their customers already pay them to deliver the bits on their network, and requiring us to pay even though we deliver the bits to their network is an inappropriate reflection of their last mile exclusive control of their residential customers," he adds.
And just to tweak things a little more, Hastings has posted a list of the best Netflix streamers.
The implication is that cable companies that are good partners with Netflix and that deliver an optimal streaming experience go to the top of the list. That's a great endorsement for Netflix customers looking for an Internet provider -- or those who are unhappy with their current ones.
And the bad partners? Well, they get served up a little humiliation.
Posting the names of "good" Internet providers is a small gesture, but it's one that sends a strong message to Comcast and others: Netflix is ready to play hardball.
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