Opinion: Thanks For Messing Up Netflix Guys

Who am I talking to?

I’ll answer that in a minute.

Eight months and eight days ago I started this very blog. I began it with my opinion involving a newly established price increase involving Netflix.

As is customary with my strong opinions, some agreed with me and some didn’t. And I’m cool with that.

Now eight and eight later there have been new developments with Netflix (but sadly, not for this blog….still working on it).

In case you don’t know, most of those developments with the company  are bad. Very bad.

All because of a simple $8 increase, and a since panned proposal to separate their online streaming and dvd’s-by-mail service in to two different companies, two different websites, and – wait for it – two different log-in’s (in a technological world where our phones and tablets keeps us logged in to dozens of sites anyway). The company we know as Netflix is not the same. And may never be.

The downfall started with the news that the company had lost a lot of its customers.

Then more recently as of Feb 28, they lost something else.

Oh yeah and for anyone who won’t click the link, they lost 800,000 customers in a quarter and their Starz subscription content, which accounted for a majority of their newer movies.

They say that signs were pointing at them already losing Starz about a year ago. But I don’t buy it. In fact, here is exactly what Starz said was their reason why they wouldn’t renew:

“This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content,” Starz said in a statement Thursday. “With our current studio rights and growing original programming presence, the network is in an excellent position to evaluate new opportunities and expand its overall business.”

Blah blah blah. Starz is a business. In business it’s all about Showing The Money. Your strategy is to “protect the premium nature of our brand”, but let’s face it before June 2011 there was no movie service bigger than Netflix.

They were so big, if you recall, that the haters of the studios started the whole process of giving them new release dvd’s about a month after everyone else because they were so dominant.

Now all of a sudden, Starz wants to basically explore other options? Yeah way to kick them while they’re down.

It should be noted that it would cost 300 million $1 bills to renew that license.

Netflix is probably erring on the side of caution.

And they have basically been deemed the scum of the Earth.

And because of that, Netflix has suffered. Ultimately so do those of us that have stuck with them.

As I browse the library of Netflix today, it’s not the same. I find myself scratching my head at the films available on Streaming. Either I’ve never heard of them or have no desire to watch them.

They’ve really raised their collection of tv shows. But I don’t always have time to commit to 5 – 10 seasons of 25 – 45 minute episodes. It would be nicer to commit to two hours in sporadic increments.

But I don’t blame Netflix. How can they afford these ever rising cost of a license if their (not so) loyal customers jump ship because the company asked for 32 more quarters per month to cover those costs?

And it is those customers who decided to quit that messed up Netflix. Not the company’s price increase or Starz with their alleged desire to explore other growth options.

I’m sticking with the company that has provided me with countless hours of entertainment at a fair price. I hope they land back on their feet.

I’ve never had a complaint, I’ve never had bad customer service with them, I get my dvd’s by mail like clockwork, and if one is accidentally misplaced they don’t charge me for it, as they understand sometimes mistakes happen.

I thought that was what we liked a company.

Before the price increase, how many of those 800,000 customers felt the same way? I’ll bet most of them didn’t have any complaints. That’s why they were still customers up until July.  But then when the company makes a move, so do the whiny customers.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter from Netflix to its shareholders, explaining their actions, basically giving the obligatory apology for an 80 dime increase per month, then finally downplaying the results in an effort to urge the shareholders to continue to invest. Ya know, in a nutshell:

“$7.99 for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for unlimited DVD are both very aggressive low prices, relative to competition and to the value of the services, and they are the right place for Netflix to be in the long term. What we misjudged was how quickly to move there. We compounded the problem with our lack of explanation about the rising cost of the expansion of streaming content, and steady DVD costs, so that … many perceived us as greedy. Finally, we announced and then retracted a separate brand for DVD. While this branding incident further dented our reputation, and caused a temporary cancellation surge, compared to our price change, its impact was relatively minor.”

To the part I have in bold, I truly believe that there shouldn’t have needed to be an explanation. We should have already understood that.



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