NetFlix As A Survivor?

from the looking-for-the-success-stories dept

I’ve noticed an awful lot of news stories in the past month or so, specifically looking for dot com “survivors”. One of the companies now being talked about for “making it through” is NetFlix. Almost everyone I know who uses NetFlix loves it, and I keep debating whether or not to sign up myself. The problem is, that at $20/month, I would need to watch 4 or 5 movies a month to make it pay off, and I don’t always do that. They claim that the average customer watches about 5 movies a month – which makes me wonder how much more of a market there is for them. While Blockbuster can make money off of anyone who comes in to rent a movie, NetFlix is only attractive to the folks who watch a lot of movies. Anyone who only watches a few is merely subsidizing the movie fanatics who go through a ton of movies. However, it is still an interesting business model, and it will be more interesting to see how the big rental chains react, and how they deal with the eventual question of downloadable movies and video on demand.

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Comments on “NetFlix As A Survivor?”

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ScooterBoy says:

my queue has stopped moving..

as much as I love my netflix account, I’ve reached a quandry.. my queue has stopped moving since i don’t seem to have time to watch movies anymore. I haven’t watched a single movie in 2 months, so my $19.95 is going to waste.. but.. i’ve got 4 out for $19.95, as opposed to the 3 out (i was grandfathered in) so I don’t want to cancel.. and, I’ve spent hours and hours rating 464 movies and adding 335 to my rental queue. What I really need is more time.

john bartley (user link) says:

The heat death of NetFlix

I have little time for video besides memorizing the Buffy-Angel canon and trying to find a new Stargate SG-1 episode (take that, Showtime, home of endless reruns), but finally broke down & bought a DVD player. Netflix sure sounded interesting ebcause of the convenience (i.e., mailback) factor plus the all-you-can-eat Swedish buffet pricing structure.

However, like the Swedish buffet, everything begins to taste the same at Netflix; I had a real hard time finding worthy watchable movies. No Fritz Lang, very little Marlene Dietrich… ach du lieber, is their selection thin!

Alan Jaffray says:

Flawed calculation

“at $20/month, I would need to watch 4 or 5 movies a month to make it pay off, and I don’t always do that”
That’s a flawed calculation, because it doesn’t account for the added convenience of using NetFlix as opposed to going to a video store.
I don’t like driving to a video store, looking through shelves, settling for a third choice because my first two aren’t in stock or are too obscure for them to carry, waiting in line and dealing with godawful customer service, driving back home, and remembering to return it on time or pay inflated late fees.
I do like hitting a web site once in a while to add another dozen titles, coming home to find a new DVD in my mailbox, having four DVDs I’d like to watch in my living room at any given time, and returning them whenever I feel like it by dropping them in any mailbox.
Even if I don’t always watch a DVD a week – and I watch DVDs considerably more often now that there’s no hassle involved – I’m willing to pay a premium for that convenience.

Linda Gooding says:

re: Netflix

Dear Mike,
#1 son forwarded ur comments & I agree with ur premise. BUT! Look at it this way: Someone who likes to watch movies/documentaries/etc., doesn’t have any pay-for-view channels or premium ones, enjoys the convience of getting a movie by just going to their mailbox & returning it the same way WITHOUT a late-fee whenever it is convient (like if for some reason my kids call with the latest crises du jour & it gets too late or someone has to wrk late, or the cat throws up & the carpet has to be cleaned, etc. U get the picture.)

BTW, did u know that Blockbuster gets 19% of their revenue from late fees? After MANY yrs of renting MANY movies, & being more than willing to pay a late fee IF it is deserved, all of a sudden I started, as did my grown son, to get calls, cards, e-mails about late movies. I tried many ways to solve the problem sensibly, (long story u don’t want to hear), but I finally told them to “put it where the sun doesn’t shine.” But who cares? I’m only the customer who has rented THOUSANDS of $ worth of movies from them over the yrs. When a company gets so big that they start knocking off their bonuses (they used to give free coupons with so many rentals, used to give a rent 2 & get one free, gave free popcorn/soda, etc.),hiring minimum-wage McMorons, give them no training, never a sign of a ‘real manager around, & then suddenly start sending out late notices to quite a few people both my son & I’ve talked to who also have stopped renting there, Netflix is the PERFECT answer.
The real trick is to
get themovie back into the mail the morning after u have watched it & keep them rotating. I also like the way they e-mail me when the get a DVD back & also when they ship. It is business-like in the way they run the company & they are getting ALL my business at $39.95/month after I tried them for 6 months at a much lower rate. They even provide a BRE envelope, so postage is included in that rate.

I’m truely pleased with them & only hope they keep up the quality. Everyone with any measure of succss today gets “fat, dumb & happy” & then things go to hell-for the customer.

Linda S.Gooding

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Netflix

Yeah, I understand the convenience factor and the late fee factor, but maybe it’s just an issue for me the way I watch movies. First, (and if you’ve ever rented videos with me, you know this is true), I’m proud of the fact that in my life I have *never* returned a video late. I don’t know why, but I just can’t do it. Also, I really don’t mind heading out to the movie rental place, which really isn’t all that far from my house. I like being able to browse, see what’s available, and I like being able to pick a movie that I can watch as soon as I get home. I’m not as good about planning what movies I want to watch a few days from now.

That doesn’t mean I don’t understand the people who love Netflix (and many people seem to really love Netflix) and I’ve told many movie-buff fans about it, because I know they would love it. And, in fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of these days I finally give in and sign up myself. I was just explaining the reasoning that goes through my head in not signing up.

todd says:

Re: Re: One man's opinion

Longtime Netflix evangelist, but we recently pulled the plug. Three reasons:
1. We got tired of S-L-O-W returns/deliveries to/from Chicago and their only disto in San Jose

2. TiVo/DirecTV combo gives us more movies every month — back catalog and/or new releases

3. The associated math: $9.95/mo for TiVo versus $19.95 for NetFlix. HBO is a constant, so killing NetFlix gave us $10/month with which to buy another movie channel, buy 2/3 of a new DVD, or buy 2 PPV movies. More choice.

In our book, TiVo killed NetFlix when the wallet, mail, and convenience were all considered.

Gerry says:

Re: Re: Re: One man's opinion

I agree with you Todd. My main problem was that I am located in Maine. heh, try to get fast turn-around times from Califronia to Maine!!!!

I love to watch DVD movies and movies in general. But, I can’t turn around the movies fast enough to get my money’s worth due to the distance between NetFLix and my home.


Linda Gooding says:

Re: Re: Netflix

Great! If u have the time & inclination to “browse”-a time-honored tradition which seems to have been almost lost in our society. I used to love to do it myself. But, I guess as one gets older , things like traffic & dealing with idiotic salespeople finally get one down. BTW, my 33 yr old ‘puter geek & his 27 yr old brother r also in complete agreement with me.
But if u DO decide to sign-up with them, please use my name as a reference, because I get a $5 credit-more customer incentives. Good Luck!
Linda S.Gooding

Glen says:

Great selections but didn't make economic sense

I was an early subscriber to Netflix but dumped them when my local video store developed a good collection. They can’t match Netflix for selection but I can buy the obscure movies I want to see with the savings. I also had problems with turn around times. I’d mail one DVD back and wouldn’t get the next one for 10 days. If I was in a watching mood I would rn through all 4 and not have a replacement.

Aaron says:

Re: Great selections but didn't make economic sens

I’ve noticed issues now with the turn around time too. When netflix ships me a movie it’s here in two days. If I return the movie it’s at least a week before they receive this. It also “strangley” seems to be more so since my free trial expired. I think the service is a great idea but if I can only get 5 or 6 movies in a month I don’t feel I’m saving any money.

Anyone else having these problems?

Bob Matthews says:


I thought I too might like Netflix, but to me it has been a horror story. I was tempted by their 10 day free offer and subscribed. I selected 5 DVDs and was immediately notified that my first 3 choices were available and sent. 8 days later I notified them that I had not received anything and listed them as lost. They immediately notified me that they had sent the next 2 and week later I received my first DVD. Every step of the way I notified them with a complaint about the service and would receive an automatic reply that they “hoped I enjoyed my Netflix service blah, blah, blah . . .”. I finally cancelled but forgot to report on their web site that the 5th DVD they sent was lost before I cancelled. Now I cannot get into the account to report it, they never read an email, and they are sending me emails claiming that I need to send a DVD I never received back. As far as I am concerned Netflix may be trying to sincerely do a good job, but they are nothing but a pain to me. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. I will probably end up getting my attorney involved. I am sorry I ever took the bait on their free offer.


Muzexia says:

No Subject Given

Any competitors?

I’m honestly about to join… I have late fees waiting for me at blockbuster and I hate driving out there anyways.

But I’d really like to see a competitor bring Netflix’s price down a bit.

But here I am joining.

Hope I don’t have any problems with the turnaround times or I’ll drop them in a second, cause that will just defeat the purpose.

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