I've never fancied myself to be a Netflix
This isn't necessarily new. Amazon.com
Are we supposed to fear Warner Bros. because it's directly targeting the nearly 4 million Facebook freeloaders who have indicated that they "like" The Dark Knight? How many of them do you think will pay up $3 to sit in front of their computer screens for the next 152 minutes to catch an action-packed movie made for larger screens?
If the over/under is 5,000 renters, I'll wager 30 Facebook Credits on the under.
This doesn't mean that I think Netflix's armor can't be penetrated. This doesn't mean that I believe Time Warner isn't a threat. However, I see a bigger threat from Time Warner's HBO Go -- where HBO subscribers can stream from its massive vault at no additional cost -- as a bigger threat than some $3 digital rental for a 3-year-old movie that everybody who "likes" it already saw.
Amazon's $2.99 offering isn't going to get Netflix to flinch, either. Amazon's real shot at Netflix comes in the form of its recent move to let its millions of Amazon Prime members stream thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost.
See the difference? Anyone that offers a digital smorgasbord at no additional cost to its already successful present offering is taking a page out of Netflix's model. If Netflix stumbles, it will be the handiwork of a rival digital buffet. Time Warner's $3 Facebook flicks are really more of a shot at premium piecemeal digital rentals available through Apple
Oh, and for The Dark Knight on Facebook to be a credible threat it actually has to be a success.
I'll buy into a theory that Netflix was perhaps overvalued, leaning on any excuse to sell off. I refuse to buy into the notion that a silly cinematic stunt that fails on many different levels is a Netflix killer with a painted smile disguise.
What is fair value for shares of Netflix these days? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix shareholder -- and subscriber -- since 2002. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.