Blu-ray discs and DVDs are going to survive for another 20 years even though great advances are being made in digital downloading.
That is the belief of Reed Hastings, head of NetFlix, the online rental service, who also stated that he doesn’t think a rival physical optical disc will emerge to challenge Blu-ray.
Speaking at an investors meeting, Hastings said on DVD and Blu-ray wouldn’t be replaced by digital downloads and ray Hollywood studios would continue releasing films on disc.
“Our view is that the studios are going to publish DVD and Blu-ray for another 20 years,” he said. “I don’t think there’s going to be another physical optical disc.”
Hastings said that the DVD/Blu-ray industry would probably not “peak” for 5-10 years.
However, despite his long-term confidence in discs, the executive said the online rental service is aggressively developing online video streaming services.
“We’ve been looking forward to these years for a long time,” said Hastings.
“Our DVD shipments will probably peak in 5 to 10 years … the streaming can be thought of as defensive, protecting our turf, or offensive,” he added.
In the US this month, NetFlix began selling a $99 set-top that enables subscribers to download movies over the Net directly to their TVs.
The company also offers a streaming service at its web site, which is free to subscribers.
Hastings said that NetFlix ultimately could generate 20 million subscribers to video streaming; the company now projects having 10 million DVD subscribers by the end of 2008.
He also said NetFlix is still examining ways to charge more for Blu-ray rentals, an idea floated by the company earlier this year.