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Analyst sees Netflix adding surcharge if Watch Instantly gets too popular

Darren Murph
January 23, 2009
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Oh c'mon -- you had to know this was a possibility, right? As Netflix's Watch Instantly service becomes more viable and its library expands, more and more users are going to start tapping into those servers for instantaneous enjoyment. Eventually, suggests Cowen and Company analyst James Friedland, all that instant gratification could lead to more costs, and not surprisingly, it'll be the end-user paying up. As an increasing amount of subscribers use the online streaming feature, Netflix is asked to shell out more cash to studios for the content. Friedland predicts that "the company will charge an extra fee for the service [if it] starts to squeeze profit margins," just like it already did with Blu-ray Discs. We get the feeling most customers wouldn't balk at another $1 per month charge so long as the instant library started to include new releases, but if not, who knows what the backlash would be.

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