Expert: Netflix to become a formidable competitor to TV

The Netflix video streaming service is now available in Latvia, as in 130 other countries. Experts say it will reduce piracy and argue that the service changes people's watching habits, at the same time making them more picky about what to watch, reported pieci.lv youth radio Thursday.

Netflix offers streaming movies, films and series for EUR 7.99 a month - about the cost of a movie ticket.

One of the main benefits from the service could be a shift in viewers' thinking and, in the future, less piracy.

"Of course piracy won't disappear just like that, in one moment. But it's the thinking that's crucial. Why do people steal? [..] In the case of Latvia it's important that there are no alternatives to get music or movies in a legal format," said Kristaps Skutelis, a tech blogger at kursors.lv.

A good example of this thinking shift is the introduction of the Spotify music streaming service - when it appeared, people realized that you can, for a fair price, listen to music legally as well, said Skutelis.

He thinks that in the future Netflix could become a competitor to Latvian TV channels. "Of course, it's a matter of viewers and viewers' interests. What we can see on Latvian Television or [Lattelecom's] Interactive Television, it's one sort of offer that speaks to one [kind of] audience.

Netflix has a different offer, but without a doubt it will become a formidable player within a few years," said Skutelis.

While Arvils Kupris, Business Development Director at the largest Latvian telecomms provider Lattelecom, said that Netflix changes viewers' habits and the extra competition drives TV channels to develop.

"Watching the big television screen is getting less popular. In that respect I think [the entry of Netflix] is positive.

Another tendency that appears with Netflix - people become more demanding as regards to content," said Kupris.

However Kupris said that the non-English-speaking audience is unlikely to flock to the streaming service, as the Latvian market will not be as attractive to encourage translating content into Latvian. 

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