Competitors, customers batter Netflix

Oct 12 2011 - 11:20pm

DALLAS -- Ever since Netflix announced plans to raise prices for customers who want both its DVD and streaming services, the company has been bleeding subscribers, so the company backtracked this week.

With demand soaring, the movie and TV studios that sell their content to Netflix are raising their prices.

Netflix has seen its U.S. subscriber count grow, but because of its recent maneuverings, Netflix stock has fallen more than 50 percent in the past six months.

Some say the maneuvering is a prelude to a sale, as the company can't generate cash to pay for acquiring licenses for streaming video.

And Netflix competitors are ramping up.

A Blockbuster push is coming from new parent company Dish Network LLC, which recently launched its Blockbuster Movie Pass service to offer streaming videos and Starz content, and DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games by mail. Executives have hinted it will soon open the service to everyone. Dish also reportedly is one of the top bidders for Hulu, another online video site. Inc., another rumored Hulu bidder, offers video-streaming and downloads through its website and will expand that availability when its Kindle Fire tablet launches this year.

Apple, Microsoft and Google are building their own video platforms, while cable providers are offering a variety of apps and services to let subscribers watch live TV channels over the Internet or access on-demand content through a TV, smartphone or tablet.

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