Netflix Rules Internet-TV but Should Deliver More

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As a user, I love Netflix (NFLX). My family watches it almost daily, and sometimes we have more than one TV playing Netflix.

What a change from when I grew up. Back in the '70s and '80s, we had only one TV, and the remote was either me or my brother, depending on who was closest to the tube at the time. Fighting for a place on the couch was more than just gaining a good vantage point; it was about who would have to get up to turn the dial.

I also remember standing in line for more than a half hour to check out a crappy movie that wasn't even on the list because the rest of the choice was picked over at the movie store on a holiday.

It's crazy how fabulous my kids have it, and just like I used to roll my eyes at listening how great I had it, my kids follow suit when I talk about walking to school in 6 feet of snow (I do live in Wisconsin, so they somewhat buy into the snow part).

With Netflix, my family now has 60 inches of on-demand entertainment, and if that screen is taken, we have two more that may not be as large, albeit they are at least double the size of what I mindlessly stared at when I was a kid.

It seriously can't be a surprise to see the popularity of Netflix grow, and it makes me scratch my head to read that my good friend ( TheStreet's Rocco Pendola) and I have such a seemingly polar opposite view of the company. Take this article by Rocco as an example Netflix Original Programming Is Dead on Arrival. My take from Pendola is original programming is a mistake by Netflix. I loved watching House of Cards with Kevin Spacey.

Hemlock Grove I haven't watched (maybe that in itself is telling), but that doesn't spell the end of Netflix's ability to create original programming. Not every show on Time Warner's ( TWX) HBO was widely successful either. I enjoyed the HBO series Rome, but HBO canceled it due to financial considerations. More importantly, Netflix doesn't have to get it "right" every time, and a show can be widely successful even if it doesn't reach the HBO level.

What is really crucial is if overall, developing original content carves out a financially viable niche for Netflix. Once created, the content belongs to Netflix forever, and the ability to monetize content changes over time.

Just like my brother and I jockeying for the best couch position as kids, Netflix is bound to win and lose a few. In the process of trial and error, they will learn where the best position is.

For the sake of investors, Netflix needs to increase customer monetization, and as a customer I hope they do. I would love to spend more money on Netflix, and while that statement may at first appear counterintuitive, let me explain.

If my wife and/or I want to watch a new release, it means we are driving to the local video store or to a Coinstar ( CSTR) Redbox. I wanted to watch Zero Dark Thirty and Django last weekend, but they weren't available on Netflix, regardless of how much I was willing to pay extra.

I rented Zero Dark Thirty but skipped Django (sorry Tarantino) because I didn't think (rightly) I would have time to watch both and get them returned in time. I could have simply rented both and planned to pay late fees (I have utilized that strategy in the past), but as small as late fines are, they simply suck to pay.

If Netflix offered the movies as pay-per-view, I would have paid double the price of Redbox, even though it may appear I am unwilling to do so through Redbox. Regardless, if you place a value on your time or not, no one except maybe a newly licensed 16-year-old enjoys making a trip with the sole purpose of returning a DVD.

Unlocking the key to customer convenience will simultaneously unlock greater returns for shareholders. It won't happen in time for me to watch Django on Netflix, but it should happen soon if Netflix is expected to grow much beyond $220 a share.

At the time of publication, the author had no position in stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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