Diggin' technology every day

September 19, 2011

BOOM! What was that noise?

Filed under: Random Thought — Tags: — Nate @ 9:24 am

It was Netflix shooting themselves in the other foot.

Seems they can’t get enough of pissing off their die hard fans. I’ve seen a lot of people try to claim that the DVD by mail business is dragging them down (really I think it’s the opposite these days) because it’s so expensive to mail DVDs. I don’t think it’s too expensive — if there are some abusers out there (the ones that rent, rip and return) Netflix should target those users and have them pay more or cut them off, much like consumer internet services do for people that abuse the service.

One good comment from the Netflix blog (which has around 12,000 comments at this point) sum’s it up pretty good (I’d link to it directly but don’t see a way to do that, it’s near the top of the list though) –

Thanks for the explanation and apology. That helps, but your arrogance is still so thick it’s palpable. The “I’m sorry if you were offended” is no apology at all. It just makes things worse.

I have been a Netflix customer and fan for many years. Have been a Netflix evangelist, turning on many friends to your service. I am still a customer but no longer a fan — I feel betrayed.

(I feel similarly about VMware at this point)

Though it sounds more like they are going to try to grab onto more hype and spin off the DVD by mail service and stick to streaming. In any case it seems like their remaining customers lose from pretty much any angle you look at it. I think the jig is up for streaming – I mean if Hulu can’t pull it off with such big content producers as investors – who can? I don’t think anyone, not for a while at least. Which is too bad.

The upside is maybe by the time the licensing and legal stuff is worked out the internet architecture will be to the point where it can better support streaming (I’m looking at you multicast over IPv6 assuming your ever widely deployed and assuming you work on a large scale).

This is obviously a panic move for them to take in response to the plunge in the stock price(the least they could of done is announce this last week with their other news since the change won’t be happening for several weeks seems this decision was made in the past few days), otherwise they would be taking their time and making the sites inter operable with each other (whether or not one of them is spun out).

Netflix predicted losing as many as a million subscribers recently, I would expect this change to increase that number significantly.

OK no more posts about Netflix for a while – there just isn’t a lot of things in the tech industry happening that interest me these days (enough to write something on).


  1. The one thing I’ve noticed is that once I switched to an online only subscription, the quality of the content dropped from B to F. Out of all of the “New Movies” there were probably 5 out of 50 that had actually been seen in a theatre, the rest were all straight to DVD or indy crap that couldnt make the cut on the Sundance channel.

    Comment by tgs — September 19, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  2. Wow, just… wow. I’ve been a long time Netflix subscriber and am a diehard supporter. I’ve got their streaming + 2 disc/bluray suscription. Stayed with them when they bumped up the pricing because I wanted and liked both services.

    When I saw your earlier post about the “apology” letter sent out, I was kinda, “yeah, they are pushing that foot pretty deep in their mouth, but…” and yesterday, I got the email. *SIGH*

    Without their DVD division, they are effectively in the same boat as Hulu, minus the annoying advertisements. The streaming: convenience. The DVD/BluRay: quality. You split the two, you’ve made the service weaker in both respects.

    You’ve also now KILLED one of the big pluses: unified interface for queues and lists. Now I have to go to TWO places to manage my list? Wth?

    With the way things are going… I may have to jump ship. Except there are really no alternatives.

    Time to write some letters. Netflix is smoking some seriously weird stuff with these decisions they are making. They DO realize that the disc mailing side of their business, while probably a higher cost center, draws in customers to their streaming side, no? By splitting the two, they are also making each one harder to survive without the funds of the other. *bangs head on wall*

    Comment by Wing Wong — September 19, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  3. Yeah, it’s crazy, I don’t think anyone outside of Netflix understands why they are doing this.

    How’s this for irony – of all the days in the year, of all the people in the world. Netflix recruiters choose today to contact me on Linkedin to talk to me about career opportunities there.

    Netflix had something pretty good going for a while, unfortunate they weren’t able to sustain it.

    Comment by Nate — September 19, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  4. I think this is the best theory on why their doing this that i’ve seen yet.

    I still think that there should have been some lose tie between qwikster and netflix queues via API. And who knows thats what may happen…

    Comment by Justin — September 21, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

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