Media

Netflix to stop its ‘ISP-blaming’ messages within video players

Above: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Image Credit: MacLife
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Netflix will no longer display in-player messages attributing slow buffering speeds or poor quality to Internet service providers, the company announced today.

The messages first started running last month and was displayed within video player load screens. The message simply stated that the name of the ISP you were currently using to connect with Netflix’s service was “busy,” but many took it to mean that Netflix was pointing the finger at ISPs now that they’ve been approved to deliver traffic data through a premium “fast lane” for some of the most data-intensive web services. (And Netflix routinely makes up nearly a third of all traffic delivery during peak times in the U.S., as VentureBeat previously reported.)

“We started a small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they’re watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network,” said Netflix’s head of communications Joris Evers in a company blog post. “We are testing this across the U.S. wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion.”

Evers said the current testing for these types of messages is scheduled to end June 16, but that the company will evaluate whether to roll out a new set of similar messages more broadly in the future.

Verizon, which won an appeals court ruling that deeply weakened net neutrality rules earlier this year, was the first to reach to Netflix’s finger-pointing messages. The company issued a cease and desist letter to Netflix last week. Verizon also published a very strongly worded blog post in which it discredited Netflix’s arguments over net neutrality by stating that its paid peering traffic delivery agreements had nothing to do with it.

But judging from today’s announcement from Netflix, the company doesn’t appear to be phased by Verizon’s anger.

More information:

With more than 25 million members in the United States, Canada and Latin America, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. For US$7.99 a month, Netflix members ... read more »

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