With millions of people eagerly awaiting the release of Orange is the New Black Season 2 which will be released in less than 48 hours, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is lashing out at Internet providers that it deems worthy of its wrath. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is the newest target.
Last night, Vox Media designer Yuri Victor posted a photo to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) that showed his Netflix stream with a message that laid out in no uncertain terms that it’s Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s fault. “The Verizon network is crowded right now.” Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) went on to say that it was “adjusting video for smoother playback.”
Following this post that was retweeted around the country, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) spokesman Jonathan Friedland took to Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) to explain that the company was simply displaying this message to “keep members informed.” He said that the company is not just “targeting” Netflix, but no other images have circulated yet where other ISPs are called out.
Somewhat ironic is the timing, just last month Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) signed an “interconnect” deal that was suppose to ensure that Netflix users have access to speedy streaming. That deal followed a similar one that the company signed with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA).
With the new browser message, “Netflix is looking to harness the power of its subscriber base to drive its message home to regulators and politicians,” BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in a blog post. “Essentially Netflix is saying, ‘Call Verizon, not us.’”
During peak hours, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) streaming is responsible for nearly one-third of traffic in the United States. As a consequence, Cable providers believe that they should be able to slow certain sites and have advocated the end of net neutrality. When you consider that the head of the FCC was once the leading lobbyist for the cable industry, what seems impossible is well on its way to becoming a reality. As former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver said on his show “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, “That’s like realizing you need a babysitter, and hiring a dingo.”
Despite the fact that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) seriously lags behind Google Fiber with the former offering average Netflix content at 1.99Mbps, and Fiber delivering at 3.6Mbps, Verizon isn’t a fan of being made the scapegoat. In response to Netflix’s new policy Verizon PR rep Robert Elek wrote: “This is a PR stunt. We’re investigating this claim but it seems misleading and could confuse people.”