NetflixThe Netflix (NFLX) Goliath was seriously weakened this week when Starz said it will pull its content from the company's streaming feed in February: Is it time for the industry Davids such as Redbox to pull out their slingshots?

The decision by Starz (LSTZA) to end renegotiation talks will leave Netflix without Starz-owned Sony (SNE) and Disney (DIS) streamed movies.

"As far as how this news will impact Redbox, we will not speculate," Redbox (CSTR) spokeswoman Laura Dihel told DailyFinance. "Disney and Sony titles are available on release date to Redbox consumers at our more than 27,800 locations nationwide."

Polite as can be -- with a little plug thrown in for good measure. But Starz's announcement Thursday definitely leaves an opening for the content-providing competition -- and could give consumers pause. Netflix's queue is soon to get more than 1,000 movies shorter, losing such hits as Alice in Wonderland and The Social Network. For cinephiles who love foreign and art-house fare, Netflix will remain a giant of streaming cinema. But consumers with more popular tastes will probably feel the big studios' absence.

Netflix reportedly offered Starz $300 million to re-up their contract -- the same amount it was paying NBCUniversal. Starz wanted a lot more, because Sony wanted a lot more from Starz as Netflix's subscription base unexpectedly mushroomed.

Netflix still wasn't talking after multiple efforts to reach it as of this writing. Surprisingly, neither were many of its competitors.

Let's take a look at what's out there for consumers, and how these viservices can take advantage of Netflix's suddenly compromised position.

• Amazon Instant Video is perhaps the most potent streaming rival of Netflix on the movie front -- and it's the cheapest, too. Its $79 a year fee comes out to $6.60 a month compared to Netflix's $7.99 unlimited streaming. Amazon (AMZN) customers also get free shipping on goods purchased on Amazon. The downside is its more limited film collection. You can watch on computers of course, but you'll have to consult a particular list of recent HDTV makes and Roku and Blu-ray conveyors for TV viewing.

• DISH Network-owned Blockbuster (DISH) could fill the Starz void because it offers Starz content via both its mail and on-demand services, often getting a month's head start on Netflix for big releases, DISH spokesman Marc Lumpkin pointed out to DailyFinance. Blockbuster also touts its DVD delivery system over Netflix's, because it has both kiosks (a la Redbox) and stores for returns of any by-mail DVD. Blockbuster's $1-a-day DVD rental machines could also prove attractive to viewers seeking alternatives to Netflix's minimum $8-a-month DVD-by-post single-disc structure. The downside: Blockbuster's streaming price structure is on the high side: New releases cost $3.99 on an individual basis.

• HuluPlus stands to gain the least from the Netflix fallout because its repertoire is heavy on TV. It's almost a non-player in the arena of prominent theatrical releases. But for a $7.99 monthly streaming fee through lots of platforms, including Xbox 360 and Roku, it's an option for lovers of boob-tube programs.

• Redbox's $1 DVD rental machines could also provide an alternative antidote to the spotty Netflix streaming that this reporter has experienced at home recently. Seems a little retro now, but I'm finding DVDs to be more reliable on my older flat-screen. For a New Yorker like myself, the kiosks aren't convenient. (There are just two in Manhattan.) However, those who live near a Redbox, hate monthly contracts and love movies on the cheap, can put off the streaming revolution for a while.



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acmewilee

if they are going to stream movies they should be able to get something that is relavant. Besides Tangled i have not fournd a new new release that is streaming in how longit is ridiculas and now they are charging for streaming and the actually dvd it is not worth it anymore and I am cancelling my contract with them

September 09 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stalb427

Oh ya forget the proof:

http://www.nextwave.org/time-warner-cable-wisconsin/

September 05 2011 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stalb427

Most of the issues netflix is having in the US is from a behind the scenes war the cable networks are waging. Thats why they are having a hard time getting contracts for all those tv shows and new movies.

The issue with starz is different, its a matter of sony squeezing for more porfit making starz up their price, which would make netflix up their price if they agreed to keep starz. And then im sure everyone would howl for blood from netflix if they choose to keep starz and brought prices up.

I stand by netflix, even went so far as to cancel my cable just keep the internet. If the networks want to battle it out with an online content provider well then ive chosen my side. In WI there is only 1 real network Time Warner (who owns the other competition in the state Charter) and they charge pretty well whatever they want for service. AT&T is trying to move in but they are charging just lower than Time Warner and doesnt have a very big service area.

This says it all.. for their "bundle package" in WI $124.85 a month and thats the introductory offer.... its entirely ridiculous. Ill pay my $8.00 per month and be dam happy about it even if i dont get to watch everything i want, just more encouragement to get out for other things and not just plant on my couch all night.

September 05 2011 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mulepick

That ******* sound you hear is Netflix imploding. They have decided to concentrate getting income from offering their service to new, overseas markets vs. continuing and expanding domestic. Movies and particulalry TV series take forever to hit Netflix and now, with no Starz, most of the movies I want to see will not be available. Hulu will probably be the best option for me when they figure out that they need to lose the commercials to be competitive.

September 05 2011 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pegosus

I was very excited when I got a new tv and found I could switch from DVD's from Netflix to streaming and pay $2 less per month. Boy, was I mistaken. Netflix does not stream new movies and the same old ones are there that have been on forever. Whenever I hear of a newer movie I think I would like to watch or even an older one I would love to see again, most often it says it comes in DVD only. What's the sense in streaming movies when you have such a limited selection of quality movies to choose from? I am not really into westerns made back in 1958....... I think I will keep it a couple more months and cancel. It just isn't worth the money.

September 04 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
griffin3462

Don/t count out VUDU, owned by WAL-Mart. These guys are ready to step in at #1 in streaming. Have the cash for STARZ in the 99cent or 2 days for two bucks deals all ready in place

September 04 2011 at 9:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mixermatt

Lets see here, we have redbox, we have blockbuster, and we have hulu and the other guy.. I think if one did research on who has the best movies for the buck.. you could come out a head in this.. also research the movie online before you rent.. this also helps if you have kids.. this way there is no shockers as you watch your movie.. and there is Sarz, Max, showtime, and HBO. These Chan. can be cheap in the long run.. yea, they may repeat movies.. but still a good deal.. and it also depends who you have for tv service

September 04 2011 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SHERRY

This whole DVD/streaming thing has brought out the greed in content suppliers. it's going to get to a point where the illegal copies start flying out of the back of trucks at flea markets and the industry could colapse because of the lost income. Let's admit it; most of the movies these days aren't all that good to begin with and content providers should be thankful we even look at the crap they put out. Raise the prices all you want. I'll read books.

September 04 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
aggiewhatever

I just cancelled Netflix because the movies were in bad shape---sound and picture not synchronized, freezing/jerky picture, bad quality sound, etc. Plus bad customer service.

Also because, after 4 months of subscribing, they had not listed a single new movie. When I called them to ask about it, the customer service rep said that I had to order the shipping option in order to get new movies, because they didn't do new movies for the $7.99 per month subscription . She was very snotty. That was the first time I had heard that! She asked if I wanted to upgrade to the shipping option. I said no, that's a big hassle. Why should I pay $3 a month more and go through the hassle of mailing back DVDs?

When I told the customer service rep that I had not subscribed to watch reruns that I had already seen many times, her response was "do you want to cancel?" So I said Yes, please cancel my subscription.

September 04 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chuckgoodcat

Negotiations are just that . Things have way of working out . Netflix is the best value best service around. Red Box Blockbuster kiosks are a pain the $1 is for the weakest offerings and the best choices are gone as quickly as they are loaded in the box . At Blockbuster kiosks blu rays discs are $2 or $2.99 and there is still the old drawback of having to make the trip back to return it . I prefer Net Flix .

September 04 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply