All right kids, you ready for a rant? Let's talk about Netflix for a little bit. You all know them for the streaming service with load of 80's action movies and the red envelopes that always give you 2 seconds of excitement before you actually see the movie delivered and think to yourself, "I wanted to watch this last week?"
I would like to give my personal history with Netflix. Please be patient. I joined them in 2004 strictly to watch new TV series and they were good to me. But being a fickle consumer I made the move to "the Big Evil" Blockbuster where they had a fantastic deal of online rentals plus unlimited store trade-ins. I hate doing business withe the devil but a good deal is a good deal. Well it wasn't long until blockbuster turned everything on its head and gave much less for the same rate. See that review here. So my satisfaction with Blockbuster dropped just as Netflix started offering dvd mail-ins packaged with Unlimited Streaming. Holy movie heaven Batman! I also reviewed that experience. I had unlimited streaming rentals to watch anytime I booted up my PS3 and still received one dvd at a time for new releases or shows for my wife. And I got this for only $10 a month. Life was good.
Which brings us to the email that many of us receive on July 12th. Without apology, Netflix has decided they're charging too little for their plans and have decided to split the streaming plan from the dvd plan and have no bundle pricing. The breakdown of it all is: 7.99 for only streaming. 7.99 for only one dvd at a time. So we're saying over 16 dollars and tax for the same plan I'm paying 10 dollars for. For those who want more dvd's you can just do 2 at a time for 11.99 without streaming.
About 6 months ago, Netflix upped their rates 1 to 2 dollars. And that sucks but it's nature. As consumers we understand that prices go up every once in a while by a fraction. But now Netflix has the gall to increase prices to nearly double?! That's a lot of nerve. Let's imagine that Little Caesars (who are known for their 5 dollar hot and ready pizzas) all of a sudden decide to start advertising their new $8.50 hot'n'ready pizzas. I would give them 2 months before they went bankrupt. No one would go anymore. The American public has standards and it relies on not paying more than $5 for a cardboard pizza.
I hate to say this but I am equating Netflix's streaming selection to carboard pizza. If I've ever tried to sell anyone on signing up to Netflix(and yes I've actually done this), people often will reply that the movies available on streaming suck, with nothing that you actually want to watch. I became a netflix apologist as I would state that the TV series on streaming are fantastic, while always skirting the lack of new release movies on streaming. Well no longer, The movies on streaming really do suck. It is overloaded with National Geographic documentaries, anime, and crappy soft-core horror movies made by Rob Zombie's little brother, Brent. Many news stories about this issue have claimed that Netflix is restructuring their plans so they can improve their streaming selection. I cry Foul! The only new releases they offer have been available on video for months and are only available because they were shown on the Starz channel. And even that deal is falling apart.
I would like to say that I'm completely cancelling everything Netflix because of this news but sadly I am not. They do have a wide variety of kids shows that my 2 year old loves. And it can be nice to have 20 minutes of free time and watch an old episode of twilight zone. So Netflix, the jerks, have me there. Bloody drug dealers. Yes, this does save me 2 dollars a month but it's 2 dollars I would gladly pay to keep the same service.
I value a business who takes care of their customers. I, along with millions of others, was put out when hackers attacked Sony's Playstation Network. I couldn't play Black Ops for almost 2 months. Well they thankfully realized that Sony fanboys were upset and offered, in my correct opinion, a great Welcome Back package including 4 free games. That is what I'm talking about. I don't even pay to use the playstation network, but Sony still decided to reward people for their patience, for a free freaking service!!! If Sony had Netflix's business model they would have decided to relaunch the network after it had been down for 2 months and start charging people to use it.
Many will say, "But even streaming and one rental for 16 bucks is a better deal than anywhere else you can go." Shameful. I can't respect a company that decides to double my rates overnight. I really hope that Blockbuster gets smart to this and launches a great on-demand package. Thousands would jump ship. And where are all the other streaming services? This is their moment to take down netflix.
As I said, I'm keeping the mediocre, yet necessary unlimited streaming. For new releases I guess I'll go fight the lines at Redbox.
Shame on you Netflix! Your new plans get a Big Fat Zero and may the rental Gods have mercy on your soul.
Monday, July 18, 2011 Kenny D