With Netflix caving in to Warner Bros. and agreeing to delay
offering DVDs for 28 days after release in order to get movies to stream online, it certainly pissed off a bunch of Netflix subscribers. But, you've apparently got it all wrong. A Netflix exec is now trying to explain how the deal is pro-customer
because it will keep demand down for the DVDs, meaning that when they finally do come out, you may have a better chance to rent them. Seriously:
The most practical reason is that the savings derived from this deal enable us to be in stock completely on day 29. Remember that we're a subscription service and the way that you manage the economics of a subscription service is to manage the demand of any disc, depending on the economics of the disc. In the case of the most expensive disc, which in this case is a Warner Bros. disc, purchased through a 3rd party, those discs were out of stock for far longer than 29 days for most Netflix subscribers.
So what were able to is create a deal with them that gave them a little open running room in terms of creating a sell-through window ahead of rental, for us, and hopefully that they'll find enough value in that it'll extend to other retailers and other studios will take note and it'll extend across other studios as well. The net savings derived from technically creating a better customer experience have been redeployed in additional streaming content for all customers.
I'm still trying to parse this, but it really does sound like he's saying that Netflix couldn't handle the demand for new releases before, so by getting rid of them entirely, it may be able to handle them on the 29th day, since fewer people will care about renting that movie then. Now, you could claim that's a better customer experience if you ignore the 28 days in which no one
on Netflix can rent the movie (though they can get it elsewhere). But if you realize that you're now taking away the ability to serve all of your customers for nearly a month at the point when their demand is likely to be the highest... well, that doesn't seem very customer friendly at all.