However, I am not among the 800,000 who gave up on the service recently, nor will I likely be among those who are still projected to leave the service in the coming months.
1. The price increase was inevitable.
|Corey Feldman movie marathon: complete.|
For example, I have the 3-at-a-time subscription with unlimited streaming. That costs about 24 dollars per month. 24 dollars would get me somewhere between 8 and 24 rentals from a Blockbuster store, but I have to go get the movies and take them back right away. The Redbox and Blockbuster rental kiosks are a little more convenient, but there's still the late fees and the running back and forth. I can easily watch 24 programs in a month from Netflix, and I don't have to go any further than my mailbox. Now, I'm a serious movie buff who happens to have a lot of spare time these days, so I probably watch quite a bit more than most, but there are other Netflix packages that are geared for more casual watchers and priced accordingly.
2. Netflix isn't who's taking your movies off of streaming.
|"Another Hilary Swank DVD for Brady Darnell? |
Geez. Obsess much?"
|Just be patient. |
They'll get theirs.
3. Netflix appears to be learning from their mistakes.The fact that Netflix abandoned the idea of Qwikster just a few weeks after announcing the plan publicly may look like bad business planning (and it probably was), but it was also in response to many subscribers - including myself - yelling out a collective "WTF?" Now, to Wall Street, Netflix looks like it doesn't know what it's doing. To me, a company that's willing to swallow its pride in the interest of its customers can't be all bad.
I wouldn't expect a reversal on the price increase, though. See Item #1.
4. The alternatives still kind of suck.
Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks have late fees and fewer selections. Also, I once got a DVD out of a Redbox kiosk that was covered in grape jelly. (At least I hope it was grape jelly.) Blockbuster stores - the few that still exist - also have limited selection of anything but new releases, and there's still those pesky late fees. Hulu free is a great deal. Hulu Plus is also a pretty good deal, but the selection just isn't comparable. I've been trying out Blockbuster By Mail for a little while now. It's just a little more expensive and does not have an unlimited streaming option, but the selection is at least comparable to Netflix. They even have some new releases a couple of weeks before Netflix. The best feature is that with the 3-at-a-time option you get unlimited in-store exchanges. I live near one of the remaining Blockbuster stores in Denver, so that's convenient for me, and it makes up for how painfully slow (in comparison to Netflix) Blockbuster's by-mail program is. However, if I didn't live near a store, it wouldn't really be worth it.
So, why am I coming to Netflix's defense? They certainly aren't compensating me. I'll prove it. I think Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a bit of a tool. I think Netflix still has a long way to go in terms of customer service and quality control. I just sent back a DVD that was too scratched to watch, and they still have the second season of the BBC sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive uploaded in the wrong order despite multiple complaints from users. Also, I want the "Saved" portion of the streaming queue back.
However, I still think that they're the best game in town . . . in the country . . . online . . . whatever, and I recognize that if they lose too many more subscribers, it's going to be very difficult for them to stay in business, much less continue to expand and improve the service. And don't get me wrong, my loyalty is just as fleeting: if a better alternative comes along, I'm there. That's why I took Blockbuster By Mail for a test drive. However, that superior competitor is only going to appear if Netflix is a viable model to copy (and I think it is), not if they are circling the drain.
I'm just thinking ahead here.
Hey, maybe Netflix should hire me. That's a skill that they have been pretty short on this last year.
By the way, this is streaming on Netflix right now: