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Another Day, Another Apology From Netflix; Calls Americans Self-Absorbed

from the must-be-fun-to-be-netflix-pr dept

Netflix PR people must be having quite a week. First, the company had to apologize for hiring actors to pretend to be excited Canadian customers to the press, and then CEO Reed Hastings made a really bad joke to a reporter, when asked if Americans would get upset about the fact that Netflix was cheaper in Canada. In response, Hastings called Americans self-absorbed and figured they wouldn’t notice:

THR: American services when they enter the Canadian market typically charge the locals more than they charge stateside. Why the discount for Canadians?

Hastings: We want to provide an incredible value for Canadians, and it’s the lowest price we have anywhere in the world for unlimited screenings. And anyone can try it for free for a month. It’s pretty addictive.

THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask for the same discount Canadians get at $7.99?

Hastings: How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It’s something we’ll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.

While it may have been true that most Americans wouldn’t have noticed, making such a statement certainly called their attention to it… and so, off we go to yet another Netflix apology, where Hastings apologies for the “awkward joke” and talks about how great Americans are.

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Comments on “Another Day, Another Apology From Netflix; Calls Americans Self-Absorbed”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: There's less content

I think the reduced price would be related to the fact that they don’t deal with physical inventory, only streaming.

Anyway, I don’t know what the selection is like but I’d happily pay that price for some streaming content (admittedly, I have a predilection toward cult and world cinema, and don’t care how old the film is).

Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the initial launch selection and they’re having to put up with the usual luddites who own the content before they can licence more.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Meh....

Though a politically incorrect statement, and bad for business, do you guys really debate the veracity?

How many US Americans (and the South Africa) can even point out Iraq or Afghanistan on a world map? Some can’t even point out the USA:

How many US Americans know what the currency is in Germany?

There is a Luxury in being a dominant super-power, with 300+ Million people and a massive share of the world’s wealth. That luxury is the ability to spend little time worrying about the rest of the world. Smaller countries don’t have this easy out, since they are entangled in inter-dependencies with all their neighbors. Do you think Luxembourg is ignorant of Belgium? But as with many luxuries, it builds complacency, and our historic self-reliance removes the drive to learn and explore. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

If it’s true that as a country we are self-absorbed, then we should just own it. And if it is something we think is a problem, we should work to change it.

If there is a problem of ignorance, denial is not the appropriate response…unless the goal is irony.

And yeah, I’m half Canuck, so commence flaming.

Colin (profile) says:

Re: Meh....

Well, they need every advantage they can get. Competition between ISP’s is so poor here that they can pretty much get away with any type of abuse. I was poking around last night – Bell Canada’s mid range service has a 25GB bandwidth cap, and Rogers the other big criminal provider, sorry ISP, announced a cap reduction for a lot of users the other month, just after the Netflix rumors really picked up.

I don’t think I’ll use Netflix any time soon and my cap is 60GB.

stderr says:

What, you never noticed?

Why should Mr. Hastings apologize? I’m not anti-American, but it seems like you’re all hot and bothered because the truth hurts. I wouldn’t call myself anti-Armerican, but my experiences with Americans (as a Canadian) support his statement with gusto. And so what if you’re self-absorbed? It’s never really bothered you before has it? Or have you just failed to notice the obvious?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

You know what, that’s just dumb. Americans are NOT self-absorbed. I personally think about how the rest of the world effects me all the time. What’s going on in Canada, and what does it mean for me. Where can I go on vacation. What country has the best looking women. Are these self-absorbed thoughts? Surely not.

I mean, that’s like that BS going around that Americans all have ADD. It’s just stupid and ignorant. We’re perfectly capable of – Squirrel!

CJL (profile) says:

Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

In truth most countries have volatile race relations. It happens to be the trend of today’s world. Whine and complain about past injustices and get reparations.

Also, as far as getting/being fat, every prosperous country has it’s population get fat. Europe is catching up to America in weight at a tremendous pace. I believe Australia is relatively close also. Why one countries’ weight should matter to anyone is beyond me. Oh look, the average American weighs more than the average Brit. Go Britain! I mean seriously?

As for all of you haters supporting this CEO and his comment, it doesn’t make you enlightened or better than your fellow American if you bash your own.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

“As for all of you haters supporting this CEO and his comment, it doesn’t make you enlightened or better than your fellow American if you bash your own.”

It does however, make us more in tune with reality if we realize and can point out these simple facts.

Don’t they say somewhere that accepting you have a problem is the first step to solving that problem?

So we’re taking steps to improve the state of our union, while you sit back and call us ‘librul eletist foolz’, and somehow we’re the ones in the wrong?? Please…

TonyJ says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

Like most canadians I have met, being euro-trash trumps being american I suppose. Pompous jerks to be sure, Canadians WISH they were european and do whatever/say whatever they can to seperate themselves from the US Citizenry, euro-trash snobbery to be sure. That is…until it serves their interest to suddenly become allies, Canadians ARE americans, they aren’t US citizens, the sooner as they learn that and step off their trailer-park pedastel the better. Still paying homage to a Queen that could care less about you just so you feel all warm inside, pathetic.


BigKeithO (profile) says:

Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

I don’t wish I was European OR American, I like being Canadian just fine thank you very much. The majority of the US bashing in Canada seems to come from the East, Liberal territory interestingly enough. Canadian’s are allies of the USA, I think we just get a little uptight about being the little sibling and talk some trash to make ourselves feel better.

I will give you the Queen point, not only do we pay homage, she is actually our head of state… How does that make any sense?!

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

There is a strong strain in the completely inbred “cultural” community of Toronto of a wish to be European. Not so much European as French who they worship. Well, Paris actually. Without, it seems having ever been to one of the filthiest cities on the planet. (And I mean that by the simple act of cleaning up, something Paris apparently hasn’t done since before 1914 if the state of the city was any indication last time I visitied it.)

Sadly, I must agree with this group’s snobbery while on one hand worshiping Paris while they desperately try to be New York north or London west and fail repeatedly to be either.

Another poster is correct in saying that outside of that area and highly inbred group, most Canadians are american in outlook and attitude (small letter deliberate) and have far more in common with our American cousins that we have with our self proclaimed “cultural” elite. The same applies to the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Quebec is a bit of a different story but in the end they’re very american, too, they just speak an old americanized French dialect.

What the hell is wrong with the Trailer Park Boys, anyway? 😉

As for the Queen, if you can figure out a better arrangement than a constitutional monarchy please let us know. We’re all pretty sure the system used south of the border, though it may fit the United States, would be marked FAIL up here. And, we don’t pay her much in the way of homage. Just a few beaver pelts and free board and lodging when she or her family come to visit. They’re nice people, too, except for a certain fella named Phillip.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

As an American, I share you’re opinion.

Not only do many Americans not pay attention to the rest of the world, but many don’t even pay enough attention to what happens directly around them… And that’s part of the reason we have so many idiot politicians…voters don’t care to dig for information beyond what the commercials give them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

This post was really begging for an idiot like you to show up.

Now that you infected this thread, we’re going to see disease spread and destroy this discussion. The usual symptoms will be in effect: stupidity, irrational behavior, shouting (full caps) and comparisons to Nazis/Hitler.

Everyone! Please wear full face masks and common sense! You might not become infected.

beckerist (profile) says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

It’s the gross assumption that EVERY American is self-absorbed, not the fact that we probably are. In fact, I bet if you asked 10 Americans who Stephen Harper was, 9 of them would say he’s some sort of American. It’s that last 1 that should be getting offended.

Disclaimer: I’m from the US and I would be in that last 1. I’m not particularly offended what a Canadian has to say about me (I know better) but if some American CEO were to say “All Canadians wear fur, live in igloos and start fires by rubbing 2 sticks together” there would be just as much an issue in the other direction.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

Probably because there’s the odd Canuck, like me, coming on here and saying he’s right, in some ways.

Look, it’s about time that we got a discount up here from US prices when we usually pay a premium.

And yes, there’s less choice up here in the great white north because of the idiotic licensing arrangements worked out years ago when someone down south thought we were still a British colony or some southern US congress member who thinks we’re lining up at the border to flee oppression and what not and want a wall built across the border by Homeland security or a bunch of softwood lumber barons down south who can’t compete with us and a whole lot of other nonsense that we are subjected to by incredibly ignorant but,sadly, powerful Americans.

That said, as individuals I’ve found Americans from all parts of the country to range from total ignorance of Canada to fairly well informed and the whole range in between. Equally Canadians range from well informed to those who believe each and every stereotype of Americans that comes down the pike (mostly from American television I need to add).

In chat rooms I’ve found individual Americans to be curious about us and to ask deeper questions as the conversations go on until we all realize that we’re kinda like cousins who don’t pay much attention to each other until one of us bumps too hard into the other. Of course, we’re the 150 pound weakling as the old ads in comic books say but in the end we understand each other better.

Some things we’ll never agree on but many others we do. As it says on the Peace Arch between Washington state and the province of British Columbia as we cross the border we’re children of a common mother with all the sibling silliness that goes on with that.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: What, you never noticed?

“It’s the gross assumption that EVERY American is self-absorbed.”

I don’t think anyone (with the exception of some of our enemy states) believes that. I think most people know that America has a good portion of the best and brightest in the world. American earns a great deal of global respect on the back of the 10% of which you speak.

It is our poor record of raising up the remaining 9 that earns us some disdain.

And it is the most clueless among us, those most unaware of the rest of the world, whom are the most certain that we are better. That kind of superiority complex, paired with willful ignorance, rubs our planet-mates the wrong way.

Mike says:

Re: What, you never noticed?

It’s not just the US.

Jersey Shore.. think of all the people who watch that.. and then think of all the people who try and mimic that lifestyle.

Pretty much all the useless rich people in the world, right? The people who are rich but have absolutely no desire to put their money into something useful, like running a company that actually innovates or something, I dunno. Anything other than what the aforementioned types of people do now.

You hear stories about it from everywhere, every country.

It’s just that there’s more useless rich people in America.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes stderr, we are self-absorbed. Why not, the world revolves around us. But then again you not having a problem with honesty and all, of course you are jealous. Your entire country would only qualify as a state if you were part of the U.S. Just being truthful. And the absurd lengths you go to with your dual language thing. Half your country hates the other half. Why don’t you worry about what goes on inside your borders before you worry about the U.S.?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Half your country hates the other half.”

Well, not really, we’re just fighting the battle at the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City over and over and over again. Call it our national political pastime.

If you think anglos in Canada and Quebecois hate each other you should try the angle of Acadians (french speaking) and Quebecois if you want REAL hatred! 😉

Anyway, we don’t go absurd lengths with the language thing. We’re used to English and French on our Corn Flakes boxes now. We’re having to get used to trilingual packages coming out of the United States now as marketers there realize there’s an awful lot of Spanish speaking consumers out there that they really, really want to reach. Not just illegals.

I also know some folks in the former Confederate States who think the Parti Quebecois is onto something with their idea of a referendum to withdraw from confederation and dream of trying it there!

The vast majority of us don’t worry much about the U.S. until something happens there that directly affects us. It’s surprising often, don’t you know. With our economies as entwined as they are it has to be. Whether you feel is as much as we do when we do something stupid is open to question, of course, but imagine the price of oil tomorrow if we shut off the tap!

And really, I don’t care if we’d only qualify as a state but for your information we’d be the second largest state economy under that arrangement after California. We’re not the slightest bit interested in moving in with you, though.

Jealous? Not really. In some things yes, in others no. Works the same way for Americans who take an interest in us, too.

Anyway, I thought the war of 1812 ended about 196 yeas ago. Can we just let it rest in peace? 😉

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Why don’t you worry about what goes on inside your borders before you worry about the U.S.?”

Umm…I think the underlying theme here is that it IS healthy and wise to worry about what’s happening in other countries.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that you find respecting the language and history of the Quebecois as “absurd”. It does take effort. Not everything worthwhile is easy.

To paraphrase you, ‘Why don’t you worry about what goes on outside your borders, and outside your comfort zone before you worry about the prior comment?’ There’s learnin’ out there somewhere!

Greg G says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nutjob former president? Must be referring to Bill and Hilary.

Seriously… how can you be so fucking stupid?
War for no reason.. You obviously are brain-dead and don’t remember WHAT HAPPENED ON 9/11/2001. We just had an anniversary of that even recently, or are you too stupid to even remember THAT?

obama is going to be one and done. Let me explain that to you, as you probably don’t understand. ONE TERM and out as president.

I’d like to slap you with the constitution until you realize liberalism is bad for this country.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not to take either side in this little debate, but RE 9/11, you do understand that those were mostly Saudis, and we attacked Iraq, right?

Please explain what Iraq had to do with 9/11.

I’m not going to call you brain-dead, but it almost seems that you don’t remember that we went to war with Iraq because of WMD, not 9/11. But I know that you ARE clever enough to remember THAT.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d like to slap you with the dictionary until you learn what the word liberalism really means…

“9/11!! 9/11!! Everyone but me is stupid!!”

No one is buying that anymore.

“lib·er·al·ism  [lib-er-uh-liz-uhm]
1. the quality or state of being liberal, as in behavior or attitude.
2. a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties. “

Governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties……is somehow bad for the country?? Wouldn’t slapping someone with the Constitution make them realize that this country was Liberal when it was founded, that it was framed on Liberalism, and that tolerance, acceptance, and coexistence was the goal of our founding fathers??

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Self absorbed?

Has anyone looked at the back of books or magazines? The Canadian price is always cheaper then the US price. I can’t say for sure, but I would guess that it’s due to the conversion rate of our two currencies. If I saw that the Canadians were paying less, at most I would think better of Netflix for being an American company not trying to screw others (video game companies are notorious for this).

The only reason I would be slightly insulted about the “self-absorbed” comment (rolling eyes insulted, nothing else) is that he singled out US citizens. We do not have exclusive rights to that. Everyone does that, it’s part of being human.

Now I am insulted by the general argument about being insulted. Cease and desist before I sue Netflix for your crude insults. /sarc.

BigKeithO (profile) says:

Re: Self absorbed?

The Canadian price is cheaper in the US? Really? Up here the US price is always cheaper than the Canadian price. The conversion rate isn’t that big of a deal anymore, I think it is something like $0.97 this morning (thank you for all of your wars and bailouts BTW!) but for some reason Canadian’s are paying more for everyday items than Americans do. Just look at everyone crossing the border for a day of shopping in US.

The self-absorbed comment is a pretty common generalization about Americans around the world though. The old adage about a few bad apples ruining it for the rest? The real question is, was he right? Would anyone have noticed if the press hadn’t taken his “insult” and plastered it all across the internet? Would anyone have cared?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Self absorbed?

Depends on when the item was printed and the bet the publisher is making about the value of the Canadian dollar which is still widely accepted to be a few cents higher that the US buck and stay there sometime late this year or early 2011.

My response to the self-absorption of Americans is that it would have been noticed just as mild insults of Canadians, no matter who utters them (the English are particularly good at it) go into deep self-absorption mode in English and French every time it happens.

And we’re just as self-absorbed as Americans are. Maybe more so. (According to this Canadian.)

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Reminds me of an mmorpg racing game I used to play. Opened shop in the U.S with mods for the cars including aesthetics. Problem was they were charging same price for 1 month (U.S) of a mod vs 12 months (Asian).

Found that out and I don’t think the game even exist anymore after the community strung them up. Though I wonder if this “joke” will take the same turn or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Went to a strip club in Canada, loved it there. The girls really pay attention to Americans. When I asked why, one dancer said she likes Americans better because Canadian guys tip with coins.

Why would anyone in the U.S. get upset with Canada? I mean really. On a good day, the U.S. Salvation Army could probably take Canada out if they wanted to.

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