DirecTV working on Netflix-like streaming service?

Satellite provider is surveying customers, according to a report, asking about their interest in a streaming service and specifically about their Netflix habits.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

DirecTV has sent a survey to some of its customers asking about their use of Netflix and whether they would like to see the satellite provider deliver a streaming service of its own, according to a digital-media enthusiast site that obtained the document.

"In this next section, we would like you to evaluate a new service that DirecTV is thinking about offering to their customers," the survey reads, according to ZatzNotFunny. "DirecTV plans to offer a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month, which would appear as a line item on your monthly bill."

The company said its service would deliver "thousands of movies and television shows" streaming over the Web to "your television, computer, or tablet." The content would encompass series episodes through last season, as well as older films.

If DirecTV gets into the streaming business, it would join an increasingly crowded market, led by Netflix. Amazon.com, Hulu, and Vudu are competing in that market, as well. DirecTV's chief satellite TV competitor, Dish Network, already has the Dish Online online streaming service and just completed its acquisition of Blockbuster, which in addition to its struggling brick-and-mortar stores also has an on-demand service.

Last week, Dish also announced that it had brought HBO and Cinemax content to its online-streaming service. With that addition, Dish Online was able to score a win over Netflix, which has not been given the chance to offer HBO content on its own streaming service.

Even so, it's Netflix that DirecTV seems most concerned about. Throughout the entire survey that ZatzNotFunny obtained, DirecTV asks about its subscribers' viewing habits, including how many shows or movies they watch each week on Netflix, how long they watch Netflix's content, and more. The company even asked which Netflix plan--a streaming-only option or one with both DVD rentals and streaming--the respondent was currently paying for.

Of course, worrying about Netflix over any other streaming service might make sense. Last month, research firm NPD reported that Netflix's service was tapped for 61 percent of all movies downloaded or streamed between January and February. The second-place company, Comcast, earned 8 percent of that market. DirecTV tied for third place with both Time Warner Cable and Apple, with just 4 percent market share each.