Netflix just continues to amaze me at its closed, self-serving model. When once they completely pwned the home video market and could have continued to outdistance all competitors, they just keep fumbling the ball and making themselves more and more irrelevant.
We disc-NFed for years and it was great. By the time HD discs were an option, the problems started - new releases took a full month to clear the release hiatus, and then it could takes weeks or months to actually get anything new, while the discs shipped drew from lower and lower on your queue. When I finally deleted everything except about twenty new titles, we stopped getting discs altogether - perhaps one every ten days and then only the very oldest “new” stuff.
So we dropped discs and went to streaming, which is pretty good, especially when backed by the PPV options like Vudu and Amazon Video.
However, I am getting tired of paying a fortune for HBO productions, no matter how old, so I checked into adding a limited disc feature back to our NF account.
Guess what: I can’t even look at the NF disc listings for, say, Game of Thrones without signing up. I just wanted to make sure they had all of the first three seasons, on BR, and get an idea of how many episodes are on a disc to see if the really minimal 2-disc-a-month plan will work for us. But even as a streaming subscriber, I can’t look at the disc listings. Logging out to become anonymous won’t let me reach any kind of search feature, only what “featured” discs they care for me to browse.
Yes, I can go look at Amazon and IMDb listings to answer the disc questions, but what kind of fuckwad HUA mentality makes it impossible for you to even browse the offerings before requiring you to sign up?
Oh, the NF site search as a streaming customer will tell you - usually - if it’s available on disc. As long as you don’t search in too narrow a way, it will show you disc options… but clicking on them takes you to the DVD signup page like everything else.
It’s just mind-blowing how clueless this practice is, no matter how hard they want to sell signups (and collect visitor data at any cost). It’s as if Macy’s wouldn’t even let you look past the door before you applied for their house card.
Years ago, Netflix started to “throttle” frequent renters. So if you were on the three-discs-at-a-time plan, received three movies and held them for weeks or months before returning them, you’d get new movies promptly.
But if you were on the three-discs-at-a-time plan, received three movies and returned them promptly, they wouldn’t send you the new movies immediately. If you had back-catalog titles on your queue, you might receive those. But you wouldn’t get the high-demand new titles.
The reason is that all subscribers on the three-discs-at-a-time plan are providing the same revenue to the company. But it costs them a fixed amount to send each disc out; about a dollar each. So they make money on the infrequent renters but lose money on the frequent renters.
I think it has more to do with NF abandoning its basic customer service model. I clearly remember them boasting that they’d just keep buying copies to feed initial demand; they obviously scaled that way back so that new releases in high demand could take weeks and weeks to reach even the earliest requesters. But yeah, throttling probably played a part as well.
I can see many changes being driven by the realities of the evolving market and while some of those were detrimental to subscribers, they’re understandable. But NF has a long string of changes and practices that, as Dangerosa put it, seem to have evolved in a crack pipe. (The abrupt, damaging and utterly pointless plan to rename the disc service, for example.)
Weren’t you the same asshole who kept shoehorning into every conversation how watching television is the worst thing in the world? Now you’re all mad because companies are making it too hard for you to watch Game of Thrones? Dum.
That bugged me as well. For a while, if they didn’t have a movie, it was like it didn’t even exist. Typing it into the search box just came up empty. At least they changed that up a little. I’d like it to go back to how it was at the beginning and offer me the option of adding in a disc option. Sure, people will complain that they’re being upsold, and they are, but at least I’ll know what’s available. And I shouldn’t have to go to a 3rd party website to see what’s available.
The same goes for using feedfliks.com. I hate that I have to go to another website to see what’s coming and what’s going. Why can’t they just tell me, right on their own site, what’s about to show up and what’s going to disappear in the next few weeks. I hate, hate, hate starting a new series only to have it get yanked. Even if it came with a disclaimer that it might not be totally accurate for whatever reason, if I’m trying to decide between two shows and one of them is on the chopping block, I’ll go with the other one.
Many do, but I recall in several threads him going out of his way remark over and over that watching television is for those who lack the worldliness of his majesty, then he starts a Pit thread because he’s sad about the hassle he has to go through to watch his stories. Brilliance.
Recall the idiom your mileage may vary often pasted as a disclaimer on auto adverts? Well, I suggest that your mileage may vary with Netflix. I have been on a four disk plan since before 2006. I return one disk each day that USPS does pickups. The often give me five disks, I have never been throttled to three.
I have seen deterioration since the business model switched to emphasis on streaming e.g.many more selections down in the unavailable section of my queue. The user interface has gotten more tedious.
My solution is this sort of thing, if I have a legal way to watch a movie or show, I feel no moral reason not to use an illegal method instead. For instance, Netflix’s servers were acting up when I was trying to watch HIMYM, so I had no problem finding an illegal site to watch one episode while I waited on the problem to sort out.
If I had the DVD rental service, and I was not getting my DVDs as fast as promised, I’d probably do the same thing. It’s technically illegal, but I can’t really feel like I’m doing anything wrong. I am paying for the right to view the content in question.
This was driven by the realities of streaming, though. The studios were charging them for their DVD-only customers, counting them as potential viewers. The idea was that, if they separated the companies, there was no way that could happen anymore.
I will admit it was stupid not to just call the new company “Netflix DVD” or “Netflix by Mail”, though. Unless the contracts were just really weird, that should have worked.
One thing I don’t like about Netflix is the inability to search episodes. Neither searching by titles nor descriptions are available. I wouldn’t mind it being an advanced search option, but I don’t understand why they don’t provide it. Especially since TV is so important to them. Even just being able to search for a title when you’ve already pulled up the show would be an improvement, instead of having to click on each season to find an episode you want to watch.
They aren’t in a position to become a commodity provider, much less a self-generated content provider. HOC was a huge gamble that so far has paid off. It hasn’t turned Netflix into HBO or even AMC.
One wonders what would happen to HBO, in the long term financial view, if they put up ever episode of each show they make on the same day. Binging and free-choice are a part of the market, but I don’t see it being viable for a majority of the market over the long run.
When you’re talking about a company measured in hundred-millions in an industry measured by hundred-billions, you don’t just whip out a memo saying you’re going to change your iconic brand name… well in advance of what you’re going to transfer the name being a stable and profitable venture.
It was as if Ford decided airships were the wave of the future and transferred the blue oval to their as-yet-unbuilt airship division while renaming the car component “Rolly Things” with a red rectangle logo.
There are a thousand combinations - Netflix Direct, Netflix Online, Netflix Disc - and a dozen ways to implement the change. Doing it slowly, so that “Netflix” becomes the streaming service over a year or two, leaving “Netflix Disc” behind, is the accepted practice for a good many reasons. But this is just one more area where the top brass have whipped things around in shockingly ignorant and short-sighted fashion and then wondered why everyone was upset.
There was a nice period about 8 years ago where Blockbuster has 3 dvds by mail, then you could exchange them in store for any movies you wanted (including new releases). That was an awesome setup. Esp considering that the town I was living in had 3 (maybe 4) blockbusters at the time. That town now has 0, like every other.
What I would like to bring Netflix to task for is their use of categories to list available movies. I suspect they do this to be able to put a movie in more than one category (which they do) so that it appears they have a larger selection than in actuality exists.
Netflix online has a huge selection. I don’t know the number, I’ve heard 20k and I’ve heard 50k. I’ve also heard 15k films and tv series to pick from.
Part of netflix’s recommendations is they are going to recommend the movies that cost them the least in royalties. I think netflix pays 2-3 cents in broadband fees to send you a movie, but they also have royalty fees when you watch it. So if netflix is recommending the same movie in several genres that is probably because that movie costs netflix the least to stream.
If you want to get movie info outside of netflix’s recommendations this is a good site.