Despite stepped-up competition from Blockbuster, Netlix had a great year. Citigroup rated the online DVD distributor as a "Buy" last week, noting that its continued success is increasingly putting brick-and-mortar chains out of business, which should in turn only increase their subscriber base. "This creates a chain reaction that should further help (Netflix) sign new subscribers, as consumers increasingly find themselves having to travel farther to find an in-store rental location," Citigroup said. "Online rental is the only thing we do, and (our) advantage is focus and desperation," CEO Reed Hastings told Reuters on Friday. "So we have nowhere to go, right? It was win or die, and that's very focusing." Their stock is now at $27 a share; Citigroup set its future target at $39. Hastings said the plan for Q1 is to invest heavily in marketing; aquisitions are not palnned for the foreseeable future. "You (make) acquisitions if your current market does not look like it has enough room for you to grow," Hastings said. "And our current market look enormous."

It's one thing if The 'flix is crushing Blockbuster – I think we can all agree that this is not such a bad thing. But what about the independent video store market? I like my local video store (even though I currently owe them about $50 on a Merchant-Ivory film that I forgot to return for two weeks); I like being able to wander in there and moon around for an hour and talk to the owner before picking out my Saturday evening rental. How long do we have before Netflix makes that very experience completely impossible?
categories Movies, Cinematical