Some Thoughts on The Netflix App for PlayBook


There’s been a lot of buzz about the Netflix app for PlayBook from users and media alike. As soon as Netflix tweeted they won’t be supporting PlayBook, the media jumped on it thinking that the reason was because the PlayBook was somehow inferior. We’ve talked to people at RIM and sources close to the situation, and we can certainly say that the reason to not go with the PlayBook has absolutely nothing to do with the tablet’s hardware or software. Sure, volume sales might have something to do with it, but not really when you consider Netflix has a Vita and 3DS app. It more likely has to do with politics and behind-the-scenes discussions. Some thoughts below from us and a link to our buddy Doug at Untether.

So it seems to break down as follows:

1. Netflix has reevaluated its “every screen” stance following its recent financial troubles.
2. Majority of its mobile users are already subscribers.
3. Costs therefore difficult for Netflix to justify additional development on low volume platforms like the BlackBerry PlayBook.
4. Will not add any new customers to their base

So overall, the idea here is costs won’t justify development time since development won’t result in any significant subscriber increase. But there’s two things worth addressing:

1. What if not supporting the PlayBook will result in a significant decrease in subscribers (ie build to save the subscriber base)?

2. What are the real costs of porting an app like Netflix when we’ve heard game developers say porting their title only took “one fuck!ng day”?

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  • Jduke

    The Sony Vita having a netflix app, I’m sure has more to do with the fact that there exists an entity called “Sony Pictures” which undoubetly has some pull at NetFlix.

  • Bgregory

    I do not have a netflix account, as I find it useless on any of my other devices, but I would find it useful on my playbook. I’m sure there are others who feel the same. Perhaps netflix should do a bit more research on the subject!

  • jmeth111

    Tried Netflix for a month but canceled because there isn’t enough content.

  • Guest2

    I cancelled my account for these very reasons on the day Netflix announced they didn’t want me as a customer.  With Huluplus, Amazon and others, I haven’t missed Netflix for one red second.

  • Jeff Bacon

    Porting a game that uses OpenGL to PlayBook is pretty easy. Porting an application that ties more deeply into platform-UI or hardware features, not as easy. If you design your application correctly, it should still port well to PlayBook (likewise any other C-based platform) however the “1 day” mantra is a bit misleading. As far as I understood it, the developers have had great success getting their app running in a day (OpenGL apps that is) but that doesn’t mean they’re a finished product. It still takes time to tune the application interface for the PlayBook (as it would for any platform) and get the application up to production quality.

    If you are cancelling your Netflix account because of their lack of PlayBook support, ask yourself this: If Netflix had just “not confirmed or denied” they were coming to PlayBook, you would still have cancelled? You still would not have had a Netflix app on PlayBook, but the reaction from many would probably have been different.

    If Netflix put out an application and then someone found a bug and they didn’t fix it, would you consider that “supporting” PlayBook? There are always ongoing costs to supporting any platform. I think the PlayBook makes a great media player but if Netflix really is leaving business on the table by not supporting PlayBook, that should mean there’s a business opportunity for someone else to fill the void. If no one else does, then that probably tells you something about the market currently.

  • T.j. Archibald

    Speaking of leaving it open for someone else to fill the void that netflix neglects to, how about hulu finally opening up to Canadian users, I’m sick of all this “US residents only” shit…..didnt mean for this to be in response to someone else’s post

  • disgruntled employee

    Probably paid off by Microsoft like a host of other app-developing companies. Hopefully DoJ and competition bureau are already investigating. 

  • JCR

    Your comparison to the 3DS and Vita are ridiculous.  The PlayBook has sold around 1 million units - the 3DS has sold 15 million since its release and the Vita has sold over a million in just a few months.  They are way ahead of PlayBook’s sales.

    I bought a PlayBook - entirely hopeful that it would be a useful tool.  After several days of repeated crashes and having to uninstall so many new apps because 2.0 gimped them, I took it back.

  • Matt Davies

    Hulu runs on the PlayBook (they just disabled it for political reasons).  If they have Netflix on the Wii and the most difficult platform to develop for (Apple) then they should have had no problem launching their app last year.  Would not surprise me one bit if they had an agreement with Steve Jobs to help bury RIM.  

  • VickyLeft

    I also canceled my Netflix account. I love my playbook tablet and won’t get crazy just because of some stupid company who decided to boycot RIM. I just think is all about apple making themselve the kings of the world and thinking they have it all. Playbook is not because of price is because of the lack of applications that hasn’t gone futher. But their’re the best ever

  • Pete

    Repeated crash? Proves you didn’t own one.

  • Wayneelliott

    Just do it Netflix.  I for one am upset at your company for not having an app. For playbook.

  • Edriss

    ID10T errors are killer. Over 9 months owned NEVER crashed. “egg on face?”

  • Flatlander81

    Type your comment hereI just got an email asking me to come back to netflix(canceled it when they announced no playbook support). So I phoned and asked if they planned to support my PB.  The answer was yes they are working on it and hope to support it.  I said that that is good and while I won’t sign up again today, I said I would check back and will re-sign when they do.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease and it never hurts to vote with your wallet.

  • JosephBench

    BlackBerry has also come out and said they would build the app for netflix if netflix would allow them.  

  • imjust Sayin

    Is this some kind of anti-competitive move by apple and google?

    If so, they could be running into a problem with the racketeering laws.

  • Super_XP

    Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. This is why many want BB10 to kick both android and IOS in the Balls. I for one am buying. BB10