Netflix launch worries local DVD sellers

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SEVERAL DVD retailers yesterday expressed concern that the recent introduction of Netflix services in Brunei might further dent DVD sales.

A sales representative from C.K. Tang Enterprise in Kiulap who declined to be named said the advent of Internet methods such as torrent file downloading and illegal websites that offer up-to-date TV show streaming had driven sales down drastically in recent years.

“In the past (before the arrival of these methods), one customer could walk away with $200 to $300 worth of shows or movies. But these days, it’s quite rare to get such customers,” the representative said.

Therefore, Netflix was “most likely” to pose a threat to business, she said.

Netflix Inc announced on Thursday that it was launching its service globally, bringing its Internet television network to over 130 new countries including Brunei.

The service allows users to watch unlimited streaming content from the comfort of their phone, television, laptop and tablet without commercials as well as options for subtitles or dubbing.

Gina Abuelo, a sales representative at Golden Music Centre in Gadong, similarly said DVD sales have dropped over the years as Bruneians preferred to make use of the Internet to watch movies or TV shows.

“So of course, sales will definitely drop further if (customers) decide to start using Netflix.”

However, she said Golden Music Centre still has a handful of regular customers who purchase DVD boxed sets of TV shows as well as movie DVDs.

“These customers say they prefer to collect the movies and shows ‘physically’,” she said, adding that the shop offers an ordering service for customers who want specific TV shows or movies that aren’t already available at the shop.

Sia & Tang Music Company sales representative Rhea also said the shop’s biggest customers were original DVD collectors as well as teenagers who purchase Japanese animated series.

She also said that low DVD sales these days point to the fact that Bruneians are opting more to stream and watch TV shows and movies on their phones and laptops.

The introduction of Netflix streaming services in the sultanate would definitely be competition to the shop, she said.

Original DVDs of movies are generally priced between $18 and $22 in Brunei, with Blu-ray discs and DVD boxed sets of TV shows going for about twice the price.

Netflix services start at US$7.99 ($11.48) per month for the basic package while the standard and premium packages are priced at US$9.99 ($14.36) and US$11.99 ($17.23) respectively.

Netflix currently boasts over 70 million subscribers in over 190 countries who watch more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films.

The Brunei Times