Netflix subscribers say goodbye to Starz today, as the premium cable company pulls its movies and its live feed from the streaming-video site. The move puts an end to the possibility of Netflix expanding into the live TV streaming business. Many customers were unaware of Netflix’s live TV feature, which allowed customers to tune into the Starz Play live feed and access original programming airing on Starz at any given time, but now that feature is gone as Starz goes its separate way.
Netflix removed the Starz live TV player on Wednesday without having ever gotten around to fully developing the feature and its complicated accessibility: users had to have a computer running Microsoft’s Windows operating system and access the site with an Internet Explorer browser. A version of the service that would work for other platforms was promised in 2008 but was never delivered.
Netflix secured the rights to Starz live feed in 2008 for $30 million, a steal by today’s terms, but was unable to monetize it. A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment on the Starz Play live feed blunder. But competitor Hulu certainly seems to have capitalized on live TV streaming, though Hulu is better known for its focus on catch-up TV. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made it clear that his company is not interested in adding live TV streaming to Netflix.
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