Culture | October 18, 2011
call me crazy, i still love netflix: recognition for a company who got it right, then wrong, then right again
The Internet loves a whipping boy. And lately it’s been Netflix.
It’s easy to be a critic. After all, Netflix stock has lost almost 2/3 of its value in the past three months. Ouch.
First, a price hike sent customers packing. Then a CEO apology announced Netflix was splitting its streaming and DVD-by-mail businesses, re-naming the latter Qwikster. A few weeks later, Quikster was dead. Netflix listened to customer feedback and decided to keep its streaming and DVD-by mail businesses together a while longer. Thankfully.
The company and its employees have done so many things right that I’m hoping this is not the beginning of the end for Netflix. I’m optimistically holding out for this current wave of idiocy being just a momentary lapse of some kind. A quick flirtation with stupid. Like the straight-A kid who forgets to set the parking brake on Dad’s car when parking on a hill. Sure he totaled the car. But we still love him. Right?
Nine Reasons Netflix Still Deserves Our Appreciation.
Cue the O.C. Tanner applause-o-meterâ„¢ for these Netflix innovations:
1 – Netflix eliminated late fees. Netflix was founded after CEO Reed Hastings got a $30 late fee for Apollo 13. So long, late fees. Bravo, Reed.
2 – Trips to Blockbuster sucked. Maybe it was just me. But would I find Field of Dreams in the drama section, the family section, the comedy section, or the classics section? Argh.
3 – All the movies my mailman can deliver (one at a time) for a low monthly subscription fee. Yeah. I know. Right? That rocked. Still does, in fact.
4 – Two words: The queue. Not only can I get movies without going to the store every time, I don’t even have to go to the website every time.
5 – Foreign movies. Yes, Blockbuster, we watch stuff other than new releases.
6 – A totally awesome recommendation engine. I’ve discovered more good movies via Netflix than from any other source. Ever.
7 – Profiles. We were getting lots of Sponge Bob recommendations because of what my kids watch. Netflix fixed it. Bless you.
8 – Streaming. Nothing beats immediate gratification (when the movie studios will allow).
9 – One place for ALL my movie needs. This is the one Netflix almost botched (with Qwikster) but then gave us back. While all the licensing issues around streaming get sorted out, it’s nice to find out if the movie we want to watch can be streamed or mailed to us at a single web address. That’s happiness.
Rah! Rah! Go Netflix!
After all that good stuff, surely we can forgive this bitty little thing of raising prices six dollars a month. I mean, really, we all know skyrocketing licensing costs (from movie studios) are really to blame for that, right?
I kinda wonder why Reed Hastings didn’t just say so”¦ Okay, maybe I already know”¦
It stinks not to have the power Steve Jobs had. When Apple’s iTunes practically wiped out the music studio industry, Apple had a monopoly. Steve could say, “Sorry folks, I’m gonna sell your songs for 99 cents.” And music labels pretty much had to comply.
But, having learned a lesson from the music industry, the movie studios are playing it smart: Spread the love around. Keep us guessing where we can find what. And raise licensing costs for streaming to make up for what they’ll surely lose in DVD sales when all our movies live in the cloud. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, predicts Netflix’s streaming content licensing costs will rise from $180 million in 2010 to a whopping $1.98 billion in 2012.That is not Netflix’s fault, people. If they’d kept prices the same from 2010 to 2012, they’d be goners.
So Netflix customers need to stop whining about a six-dollar-a-month increase (for both streaming and DVD’s-by mail) and stick with the company they love. A little homework will show that Netflix is still a great deal. Your friend. Not your enemy.
The employees of Netflix have had a rough go of it lately. I say, hang in there guys. Know that your work is still great work. And remember, even mistakes are occasionally grounds for recognition . Especially when they represent courageous attempts to innovate and improve. Just remember when you fall down, to get back up. Life in Internetland is one gnarly roller coaster. Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Kudos. And good luck.
Any kind words for Netflix? Comment here: