Well, I am back in New York, back to work and back to Soft Handover. I was gone for 10 marvelous days in my beloved (and best city in the world) Barcelona, and I just flew back.

The first thing I did upon my return was open all the windows in my apartment; it is so hot in NYC! The second thing I did was to shower, go grocery shopping and stop by my neighborhood favorite Chinese restaurant to pick up some General Tso Chicken with pork fried rice. Noting better than Chinese greasy food for the post-flying headache and jet lag. And then, I sat on my couch to watch a movie before going to sleep. I streamed a Netflix movie.

This is why I was kind of surprised and concerned when I read this in the news: Netflix’s vanished Sony films are an ominous sign.

Movie streaming online is one of the hottest things in the Internet nowadays. Everyone is jumping into the business, and you all know what happens when the demand increases… prices do too. Movie studios are asking for humongous amounts of money to secure contracts to license their content to be streamed.

Netflix had been living in a dream world for a couple of years. They were the first and smartest ones, getting into the streaming business a couple of years ago. This way, they secured 4 to 5 year long contracts for decent amounts of money, like a deal with Warner Bros for 5$ million to 10$ million. However, to renew this contracts now will cost at least 10 times more. What will happen? First of all, I doubt we’ll still be able to enjoy as many movies as we do now for just 7$. A sign of this change of things might be the disappearing of some big names from the Sony Pictures catalog, The Social Network and Salt among them – Angelina Jolie, I want to make here a public statement that I have had a crush on you since I was 18 -.

“Netflix has another year or two on most of these contracts, and then the game completely changes,” says Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Pachter predicts Netflix’s streaming content licensing costs will rise from $180 million in 2010 to a whopping $1.98 billion in 2012.

When streaming video was new, Netflix was able to secure contracts with the likes of Warner Bros. Studios and MTV to license big TV and film catalogues for about $5 million to $10 million per year. This time around, Pachter says, those costs could increase more than tenfold.

“The content owners realize they can’t give Netflix all the leverage,” he says. “Netflix had the power when they were the only bidder. But you don’t have as much leverage when you suddenly have competition.”

I guess that soon we’ll have to rely mostly on those red envelopes to watch movies. Oh well, I guess I am ok with that. Which reminds me that I still have Black Swan at home to watch.

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