Is Netflix (or Quikster) On It's Way Up Or Out? A Love Letter From A Former Customer...

Is Netflix (or Quikster) On It's Way Up Or Out? A Love Letter From A Former Customer...
From the recent "Boycott Netflix Day" on August 31st, the day before the price increase

"I messed up" Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, wrote in a recent blog post on the Netflix website.

That's right you've probably managed to lose more customers for a single company in the shortest period of time than anyone else in history.  I'm sure it's not all your fault, but being that you gave your signature on the final "ok" puts the ball of blame in your court.

Before I sound like I'm attacking Mr. Hastings and Netflix, I'm really not.  I was (as in previously) a happy subscriber until July when the bottom fell out and I was forced to cancel as seeing that paying $16.99 for something I used to pay $8.99 for less than ten months ago is beyond absurd.

Not being the first one to lash out at the formerly loved  DVD/streaming company, but it boggles my mind on how their approval rating is actually dropping faster than the Presidents these days.

Now this news of the split DVD-to-Mail and streaming businesses, it just seems to be too much for that consumer looking to condense their movie viewing lives rather than expand it to two different websites.

The simplicity and ease of the Netflix site that encompassed both the past (DVD) and future (streaming) of movie consumption was one of the reasons that attracted me to subscribing in the first place: one central website that I could add every movie I wanted to see and it would either let me see it right away or at least give me an idea of when I could be getting it in the mail.

Streaming is obviously the way of the future and hopefully one day in the near future Netflix will be able to stream a decent selection of movies (as opposed to the garbage that people pay $8 a month for now) and I'll be happy to come back as DVD is on it's way out.

So maybe Mr. Hastings is going to turn out to be the smart one by splitting the companies, selling off Quikster to some unlucky sap that thinks DVD are here to stay, and will eventually be able to use those sales to bring in higher profile movie companies to stream their new releases via Netflix.

But for at least the time being, count me least as long as the 60% higher monthly rate stands, I'll be happy to rent my DVD's for free (via coupon codes galore) from Blockbuster Express & Redbox.

(Check out this article from yesterday's Chicago Tribune site for additional information about the insanity that is Netflix/Quikster today)



Filed under: Movies

Tags: Movies, Netflix


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    So, it looks like they lost less than 4% of their customers, 80% of which were on a DVD-only plan to begin with; I think a lot of people are making this out to be a more devastating effect than it actually is, mainly because it underscores a lot of other customer frustrations.

    I think it does make sense for Netflix to edge the industry in separating DVD-by-mail and streaming services into essentially two different companies, because it will allow them to devote better resources to each. For DVD-by-mail customers, there's finally an option to get video games. For streaming customers, we should expect to see a far more robust catalogue in the future.

    Right now, though, yeah, it's a bit of a pain. The studios are charging Netflix WAY TOO MUCH for them to keep their business model stagnant. You remember how good pricing used to be? It's because the studios were charging a lot less to license their product.

    I switched to streaming-only a long time ago as it was, considering that if a title wasn't available on streaming it would likely be available for free at the library. I realize that this was a personal choice and doesn't reflect the general Netflix customer base, but it was realistic. As it's also been brought up, it's quite easy to use coupon codes to get free movies from the kiosks, although the selection is so throttled that it's hard to see this as a sole replacement for the entire Netflix service. It certainly works as a supplement, which in reality was what their DVD-by-mail service was to begin with. I want to imagine that I wasn't in a minority renting only a handful of DVDs a month through that service.

    The industry is definitely trending towards streaming as the main source of accessing content, and I find it a bit out of place to freak out NOW when Netflix is trying to stay ahead of the curve, as opposed to any other time in the company's history, as this has been the same business model that has been so successful for them since the company's inception.

    The only thing I can really fathom is that this was so sudden and was more or less misrepresented in the tech blogs.

    What I WILL say, though, is that they DEFINITELY have been taking steps backward with their UI and social integration. These, however, are what I believe to be Netflix's only two main problems.

    In short, I think that in a year or two this will make a lot more sense, once their streaming service is more fully fleshed out and people have settled into the separate plans.

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    You people have to be kidding. $16.99, per month, is excellent for the quality, and quantity, of service that Netflix provides. Cable or Satellite TV, by comparison, is far more expensive, with commercials, and far less interesting.

    And for the amount I'm doing on Netflix, I'd pay $100.00 a month, or more, at a video store and another $70.00 on cable.

    Man, people will complain about anything...

  • In reply to David Jenkins:

    David, I appreciate your point and bet that there are plenty of people that agree with you and feel that $16.99 a month is peanuts compared to what they would pay for what's out there.

    Netflix & Quikster are going to survive and as I said, potentially be stronger once they sell off the DVD side to concentrate on the streaming library, I'm sure I'll subscribe again once that happens even if it's at that $16.99 price point.

    But I'm in the camp that only used the DVD-to-Mail service for brand new releases and watched maybe one streamed video in 3 years, so the fact that I can go out and use the plentiful amount of coupon codes anyone can find on the net for Blockbuster Express & Redbox to get my movies for free is much more appealing to me.

    The $8.99 plan was a sweet spot for 8 DVD's a month and potentially something else on streaming (but let's face it, Netflix's offerings on streaming is beyond horrible).

  • I think it is unfortunate that under the new system my queues will not be integrated. Before, I could see whether a DVD was available to stream, not just the day I added it to my queue, but whenever I checked back before the DVD reached the top of the queue. Going forward, I suppose I could toggle between the services each week to see who has what available, but that would just aggravate me at this point. No longer will preferences entered in one service be reflected in other, to the detriment of both in my opinion.

    It seems that for the customer, Netflix (Quikster) has broken a model that worked well. It is probably too early to tell how people will respond when they start seeing the higher rates in their monthly statements. Obviously, splitting the two services makes it easier to force a customer to decide between one or the other, and Netflix is betting that streaming will win.

    For me, it feels like I had a transportation pass that worked for both bus and rail. In July, I was told I will soon need to start buying two passes (doubling my expense), and then in September I am being told rail and bus services will be split and I will no longer be able to visit a site that helps me see how the schedules mesh. Perhaps not a perfect metaphor, but that's exactly how it feels.

    Quikster - the name doesn't even sound like it was chosen to inspire consumer confidence. Rhymes with "trickster" and it's only two letters off from "quitter."

  • Streaming of Blockbuster New Releases on Netflix us totally unrealistic. The reason for that is not the fault of Netflix but that of the movie studios. Netflix can't afford to pay the studios enough to get any real blockbuster title day and date with DVD. The reason why is because Blu-ray & DVD sales are still making a fortune for these movie studios. For example, X-Men First Class made $30 Million on DVD & Blu-ray in the first three days of sales. That doesn't include the people who are PPVing it. Netflix isn't going to be able to afford to drop $30 Million dollars to get the movie day and date & the studio's are not going to do any thing that they feel will cost them DVD & Blu-ray sales. So until the time that people stop BUYING movies you will have to settle for waiting three months for a movie to hit instant stream.

  • AGREED. I stuck with Netflix when they changed their prices this summer-- and downgraded from the DVD + streaming to streaming only. Now I'm a bit bored with the selection and am finding BETTER stuff on Hulu for FREEEEEEEEE.

    Sorry to say Blockbuster, Hulu and Redbox are gonna scoop up the charred remains of former Netflix subscribers.

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