The Old Is New Again, QR Codes, Netflix, And Vimeo

The old is new again, or so it feels. Today I learned that Netflix is testing real-time programming in France. To be clear the streaming company isn’t getting into live programming, they are testing a linear experience that sounds just like a broadcast or cable channel that plays the same prerecorded content to everyone at the same time. Netflix in this test won’t be on TV however, the test will be accessible exclusively via the Netflix web browser, not even working on set-top boxes.

Netflix, is clearly trying to fit into the existing habits of French viewers, but this new real-time test is a departure from everything Netflix has been since the company’s start. The streaming company may find success with this new experience. But the move feels strange, they are, after all just broadcasting things from the Netflix library to a web page, that people have to pay for… Unlike Hulu, Plex, Sling, YouTube, and more Netflix is not getting into the live content space.

Speaking of live the YouTube competitor that has morphed into a highly featured video content delivery network Vimeo just completed a funding round. Vimeo raised $150 million in new equity funding at a valuation of $2.75 billion, and the company will likely spin out from it’s parent firm IAC.

Vimeo is exciting to investors in part because of the tools it gives companies to offer live video to large brands (live not just real-time). Vimeo’s suite of video production and distribution tools has landed them 3,500+ paying enterprise customers and another 1.5 million paying subscribers. Back in the early days of online video, Vimeo was a contender for consumer streaming dominance, a battle they are everyone else clearly lost to YouTube. Many competitors in the space just died now remembered only in internet archives, but Vimeo found a place, a good one in the market.

If it cannot find a place in the market, a product will eventually die. This may be the reason we all saw QR codes as a flash in the pan back in 2010-2012 but the technology mostly faded away. Well now, thanks to the pandemic, QR codes are coming back, and this time they are working at least for restaurants. While QR codes have some security risks, it’s clear the codes do have a place in this post contact world.