Netflix: Hulu is a ‘small’ and ‘direct competitor’

Movie powerhouse Netflix sees Hulu Plus as a “small” and “direct competitor” it must handle in the current battle for online video supremacy.

The content battle to try and get into the living room is just starting — and two companies plan to lead the pack.

Netflix: Hulu is a 'small' and 'direct competitor'

Netflix’s streaming offering now includes full episodes (and all seasons) of Nip/Tuck, Veronica Mars, The Chapelle Show, Futurama, Lie to Me, and 24.

Netflix also believes DVD shipments will continue to grow, although the industry is slowing down faster than Netflix officials would have liked.

Hulu Plus, a $9.99 per month service that includes TV from a variety of services, is available via PC, Apple iPhone and iPad, Web-connected TV, and other popular consumer-driven products.

Streaming is reportedly catching on with consumers, according to Hastings, as an increased number of subscribers sign up for the $8.99 monthly plan.  Furthermore, the company has “added thousands of TV episodes from new deals with Fox, MTV Networks and Warner Televsion.”

Despite a threat of consumers cutting the cord to help reduce costs and focus on streaming, Netflix said it hasn’t seen this trend so far.  I don’t think this is a serious threat at the moment, but it’s only a matter of time before cash-strapped consumers are more willing to pay for Netflix instead of movie rentals and subscriptions for cable/satellite service.

Adding streaming content is a step in the right direction for Netflix, especially with so many shows available on-demand through cable and satellite operators — for a small fee, of course.  However it wasn’t too long ago when content owners were unable to cash in on streaming content — and the problem still exists today.

If Hulu is to try to battle Netflix, it may come down to content partnerships that both companies can arrange.  For the time being, I believe Netflix has the upper hand against Hulu Plus, but that doesn’t mean both companies can’t co-exist.