Questions-Emma-has period is over. People whining about Netflix period has begun.
Some background: last week, Netflix sent an email to all of their customers informing them of a price change. If you don't currently have Netflix, you'll have to sign up at the new price if you so desire. If you do have Netflix, the changes don't kick in until September.
The changes can be summed up with one simple difference. Streaming and DVDs by mail are now two different products. Instead of buying a single plan that includes both streaming and movies by mail, you have to subscribe to the two separately, and if you do decide to keep both, you will have to pay more. The cost difference is anywhere from $3 to $6 a month, depending on how many movies by mail you want. For example, I currently can have 3 physical DVDs and get unlimited streaming to my phone, computer, and iPad - for $19.99. In September, I will pay $23.98.
Now that we've covered how TERRIBLE AND HORRIFIC SUCH A THING IS, let's see how people are reacting online, shall we?
Taryn Fiol, in a post on Unplggd, writes that she (he?) probably only watches $7 worth of movies a month. There's not a lot of information on how Taryn came to that conclusion - how do you price streaming movies? Do you assume that you rented them at the Redbox and just estimate a dollar for each one? What if you don't finish the movie? Was it worth less? The $9.99 price was worth it for $7 worth of flicks (apparently), but neither the DVDs or the streaming is worth $8 a month on it's own.
Fine. Nice cost/benefit assessment, person with the genderly unclear name. You get a gold star for reasonableness.
The comments on the article were a little less deserving:
- I agree it feels like a big screw you to their customers to up it as much as they are. ... come on, they don't have the biggest overhead and for customers who've been with them form [sic] the beginning, it really is a jerk move on their parts. Top that off with not being able to see newly released to dvd movies for a month or so after their release because of netflix's dumb rules. Sheesh. - Yes, it is in Netflix's best interest to say screw you to their customers. Good for you for catching that, internet commenter.
- I'm actually more than a little irritated--and the plan's going up $6 not $5. But it's not the money, it's the idea that Netflix has such flagrant disregard for customers who've been loyal for a very long time--long before streaming was a possibility on the site. Occasional price hikes, OK. A deliberate attempt to rifle us, not OK. What? Those with stakes in Netflix aren't going to be billionaires anymore? Mere millionaires? ... And the only thing I watch streaming is SVU, and that's gone the way of the dodo, too. - What is 'rifling' someone? Is that something they explained on SVU?
I'm not claiming that any of these people are crazy, but they do seem to be taking this whole thing awfully personally.
These people are getting closer to crazy:
But all of the people who expressed a sentiment like this?
Fucking nutballs. Jesus H Christ. First of all - SHE WAS FOUND INNOCENT. Ahem. Second of all - what? I just spent a few minutes trying to think of a similar hyperbolic comparison and literally couldn't come up with one. Like comparing a rise in the cost of flea collars to Michael Vick and his doggie shenanigans? Nah.
Anyway, there are two different threads of whining here.
1) Was Netflix justified in raising the price?
Well, yeah. I mean, in that they're a company that provides a service, they're justified in charging whatever they want for that service. More specifically though, are they charging a reasonable amount of money for the service they provide?
Remember when I used to work in telecommunications?
What kills me about telecom right now is this idea that it should be free. (There's a whole net neutrality thing in here too, but let us stay away from that clusterfuck.) Someone pays for the shit that makes the internet run. Netflix does in fact pay money for the videos that their end users stream. They pay to store that data. They pay to get that data to places where someone like Comcast can pick it up to send it to your house. Hell, every time that data moves, Netflix pays someone. At least once, and sometimes more.
They ALSO pay for the DVDs that they mail (and they pay the cost of mailing them). They pay people to deal with those DVDs. They pay for the database systems that organize the hundreds of thousands of conflicting queues that are out there.
I'm not claiming that the average user costs Netflix anything near $15 a month.
If the average user DID, we wouldn't have Netflix, now would we?
Netflix isn't cheating you. Netflix has, in my BOE analysis (which I won't share with you because I'm pretty sure that some of what I used was confidential pricing information) , been underpriced since they added unlimited streaming for a bump of $2 - 3/month.
Netflix is trying to make some damn money. Sue 'em.
P.S. I heard a rumor that they just finished negotiations with Starz and some other company that required the number of streaming users to be contractually limited. As in, if they had more streaming subscribers than some upper limit, they'd have to pay more to stream Starz movies whether or not anyone was actually watching those movies. That's a pretty good reason to give people who aren't using streaming to opt out for a price cut, don't you think?
2) But Emmmmmaaaaaaa, there's nothing to watch!
Fine. If there's nothing to watch and they're literally not using it, they should have cancelled at $10.
If what they mean is that they want to be able to watch things that just left the theater or just aired last night and they want them right now this very second and they just absolutelycannotwaitforaDVDinthemail...
Then I want to know how much they pay for their cable television. If it's less than twice what they pay for Netflix, I will literally eat my words. At the risk of sounding like a grandma (get off my lawn you damn kids), there's never anything on cable.
(Did anyone else see that episode of Scooby Doo where Shaggy had to eat his words and so they carved them onto a sandwich that was like 30 feet long and then Scooby ate them for him? I would like a cheesecake with 'quit whining about Netflix' written on the top in raspberry sauce please.)
These people need to either decide that it's no longer worth it for them or realize that it's still a pretty slick service and cut out one Starbucks visit a month.
Whichever one they choose, they need to shut the hell up about it.
It's making us (Netflix users, internet users, Americans, whoever) sound like brats.