John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Netflix Has No Current Plans for a BlackBerry 10 App

If BlackBerry is “in talks” with Netflix about a BlackBerry 10 version of the company’s popular video-streaming app, they aren’t going very well.

Sources say Netflix isn’t developing a version of its app for BlackBerry 10 — native or port. And the company confirms those reports: It has chosen to forgo the platform entirely for the time being. “We have no current plans for a BlackBerry app,” a spokesman told AllThingsD.

Netflix declined to explain the thinking behind this decision, but sources say the company has little incentive to develop for the platform. The majority of Netflix’s mobile users already subscribe to the company’s service. So its addressable market wouldn’t dramatically expand if it were to offer a BlackBerry 10 app. And the BlackBerry 10 user base isn’t yet large enough to compel Netflix to support it in the way that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms have (Windows Phone, too). In other words, the operating costs of developing and maintaining an app for a low-volume platform like BlackBerry 10 outweigh any potential benefits.


So, no Netflix on BlackBerry 10 for the time being. That’s another blow to the nascent platform on which BlackBerry is mounting its comeback. The absence of any version of Netflix for BB10 creates a hole in the platform, and is a disincentive for users of the app on other platforms to consider BlackBerry’s new OS as a viable alternative. It also raises questions for developers, the same ones I noted here while reporting on Instagram’s decision to take a wait-and-see approach to its native BB10 app. If a company like Netflix doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to build an app for BlackBerry, then why should a smaller independent dev?

Which is not to say that it isn’t worthwhile. Plenty of developers have decided that it might be. BlackBerry 10 debuted with support from a number of popular apps — Kindle, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and Dropbox, to name a few — and WhatsApp is on the way. But if the holdouts like Netflix and Instagram start to pile up, it could be a drag on BB10 adoption.

BlackBerry, for its part, is hoping Netflix changes its mind.

“We’re committed to bringing top titles from around the globe to BlackBerry 10 customers,” BlackBerry spokesman Alex Kinsella told AllThingsD. “At this time, it’s in Netflix’s court to join the excitement around BlackBerry 10 — we hope they choose to bring a BlackBerry 10 experience to their customers. We’d love to have them.”

We’ll have to wait and see just how much excitement it takes to get Netflix to reconsider.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald