Monday, October 3, 2011

why i'm still (mostly) happy with netflix

By now, I feel like the whole world knows about Netflix's recent questionable moves, but in case you've been living under a rock, here they are: first the price hike, then the decision to split into two services--Netflix for streaming and Qwikster for DVD rentals, which was announced in CEO Reed Hastings' "apology" letter to members.

Both moves, I believe, were dumb and handled poorly. Do I understand a price hike? Yes. For the amount of streaming I do, I know I'm getting a bargain. Do I understand a price hike of 60%, sprung out of the blue on customers? No.

I've seen it over and over again in news articles and other blog posts: Netflix's lack of quality movies in its streaming catalog greatly diminishes its value. And it's true that recent hit movies are sorely lacking on Netflix, and it's just going to get worse when the Starz catalog disappears next year.

Yet I'm still content. While my queue is populated with movies no one has ever heard of--many of which, quite frankly, will be nearly unwatchable--I also have a wealth of TV shows at my disposal. Probably 90% of my streaming activity is TV shows, and I'm not alone. I found this article today, which states:
"50% and sometimes 60% of viewing is TV episodes now," said Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, during a joint keynote at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes with Miramax CEO Mike Lang.
TV is what I want, and TV is what Netflix is giving me. Without Netflix, I wouldn't have discovered Jericho, Prison Break, Veronica MarsMonarch of the Glen, Dollhouse, or Felicity. I wouldn't have been able to catch up on Parks & Recreation in time for the premiere of Season 3 last spring. And I wouldn't have become downright giddy recently when My Boys, Melissa & Joey, and Upstairs, Downstairs showed up in the "new TV" section.

I did dump my DVD rentals before the price hike went into effect, and I expect to use Redbox when I just "have" to see a movie. But in the month since I went to streaming only, I haven't missed the DVDs at all.

Perhaps Netflix will soon make another lame-brained move that will drive me away. But for now, I'm happy to say that I'm still a Netflix subscriber.

How do you feel about Netflix? Are you checking out Hulu or Amazon Prime? And what's your greatest Netflix "find"?

If you're looking for a laugh, check out this SNL sketch. Just a warning: it gets a little risqué near the end. But if you're a Netflix subscriber, it's pretty hilarious.


  1. I am still on the fence about whether to stick with Netflix or switch to Hulu Plus. With Netflix I have access to so many of the old movies I used to watch...such as Jerry Lewis's Who's Minding the Store. With Hulu Plus I can watch episodes from this season's tv episodes. But I am still unsure as to what the difference is between Hulu and Hulu Plus. I guess I will probably drop Hulu Plus and find out. So, still undecided. :) My greatest Netflix find is the old Dick Van Dyke shows. Did you know you can stream all 5 seasons on Netflix? If you were asking about "new" finds, I haven't really discovered any yet. But maybe I should go looking? :)

  2. Holly, you've mentioned "Who's Minding the Store" enough lately that I think I should check it out! My beef with Hulu Plus is that you still have commercials--and as of now, all of "my" shows can be found legally online without it. Now, if Hulu Plus would let me escape the "Fringe" waiting period, I'd be sorely tempted to sign up!

  3. A local chain of video stores (Family Video) is now promoting "Cancel Netflix & get store credit here" - brilliant idea!


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