Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Netflix Isn't Afraid of Superman

By Rick Munarriz - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Time Warner's going old-school, but it doesn't stand a chance.

What is Time Warner (TWX) thinking with this week's rollout of Warner Archive Instant?

The same company that has a legitimate challenger to Netflix (NFLX 1.50%) through its HBO Go streaming platform is now offering up a smorgasbord of its earlier catalog titles through Warner Archive Instant.

Subscribers can pay $9.99 a month for what is presently a very unimpressive catalog of very old shows and movies. Throwback buffs may recall these classics, but there's something funky about the fact that the graphic accompanying the pitch is a still from a 1952 The Adventures of Superman episode.

The "most watched" selections currently include Yul Brynner's The Ultimate Warrior, Marilyn Monroe's The Prince and the Showgirl, and a season of 77 Sunset Strip.

Now, there may very well be nostalgic appeal for some of these selections for older viewers, but are they really the type to be streaming shows off their computers or to even own Roku boxes? That's pretty much the only way that subscribers can consume Warner Archive Instant at the moment.

There's a reason that Netflix has exploded to more than 33 million global streaming customers so quickly. No one can match it on breadth of content, so rivals have tried different strategies.

Coinstar's (OUTR) new Redbox Instant matches Netflix on price, but also throws in four nightly DVD rental credits so members can get the new releases that aren't available through Netflix streaming. (AMZN 1.57%) competes on price with its Prime catalog, bundling the growing library of offerings with free two-day deliveries of Amazon purchases.

Where does Warner Archive Instant fit in?

The good news is that it doesn't require a cable subscription. Outside of Scandinavia, you can't get HBO Go unless you're a paying cable or satellite customer with HBO. There's also something to be said about its retro focus. If the future moves away from cable and satellite to piecemeal channels and services, TV fans may find themselves subscribing to several different offerings if they're cheap enough.

However, as it stands, this is an offering with little chance of succeeding.

Sorry, Superman of 1952. Netflix is kryptonite. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
$189.30 (1.50%) $2.79
Time Warner Inc. Stock Quote
Time Warner Inc.
TWX, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$2,251.09 (1.57%) $34.88
Coinstar, LLC Stock Quote
Coinstar, LLC

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.