Netflix how I want to hate you … yet I still am going back (maybe)
What they are doing wrong
I have been watching the rise and fall of netflix extremely closely sense mid July, like many other subscribers to their service the rapid fire pace of their changes overwhelmed me. The metaphorical parade of ham handed and smug changes combined together to rise my ire towards them.
1) The price hike in July of 60 percent was infuriating to me to start with netflix riding the wave of streaming success created outcasts of those of us using both streaming and in mail delivery making it necessary for most people with a budget to choose one or the other not both
2) The Stars negotiations breaking down so close in timing to the price hike was a second blow to consumer confidence not only are you being charged more but netflix as of February will be reduced in its ability to deliver new content to their streaming service. Without access to Sony or Disney films provided by this contract
3) The breaking off of quikster irked many people including me, what a horrible branding fiasco to start with heck I know it is a screwed up spelling and I still keep getting it wrong. But more importantly than stupid marketing this move reduced service to users, making you have to manage two services with two accounts and two bills they were throwing out what made them awesome to start with.
While I was a huge consumer of streaming their content catalogue and access to new material is no where near what their disk service is. As it stands now I do not believe they can stand on their streaming catalogue which is what made the last change one of the most inpactful to me, not only were they going to charge me more but they were going to reduce access to the new releases.
I was in love with netflix but they tried to make too many changes at once with poor communications to customers and an arrogance about their brand loyalty which was boarder line unbelievable. By the time change number 3 rolled around I had canceled my account after 4 years as a customer.
I was going to vote with my wallet and I did
Today netflix announced that they were canceling their quikster plans, as a consumer I am happy they have rolled back one of the changes I disagreed with most. If I were an investor (and I am not) I would still be worried what this signals. First and foremost it hints at a lack of corporate direction and a terrible understanding of the market and of their consumer base wants out of them. Secondly the roll back hints at probably a much larger erosion of their subscriber numbers, they had already downgraded their subscriber counts post price hike down 600,000 I expect to see that the real number after the quikster debacle is much larger.
All in all they are a poster child for misreading the market … making bad decisions… miscommunication to their customer base and flipfloping
What they are doing right
That being said I am still considering rejoining the service, they are doing several things well
1) Rolling back Quikster was a good idea while it feels a bit like they have no rudder now I do like to see them responding to people voting with their wallets, if I had not already canceled my account this may have been enough for me to stay with them longer to see
2) Adding a lot of TV content, this is a good thing in my opinion I used their streaming service heavily for TV content so improving that helps. It does not replace access to new movie content but it is valuable to me and something that I will use
3) Trying to work to produce new content, their move on projects like arrested development I think is a good direction for them getting some original content of their own could be a huge draw if they do it right
3) Access, not really a new thing but as I looked at other services one thing severely lacking in my book is device access and something that netflix does very well. I do most of my viewing from either my TV through my TIVO or Blu-Ray player or mobile devices like Ipad, android phone or other. Other services like amazon don’t have their streaming content available over these devices yet (TIVO can do VoD only with amazon)
What else they could do better
I personally would like to see VoD (Video on Demand) content be added to their service. To be honest my by mail usage is only to get access to content that is not available to all you can eat streaming. The reality of the situation with content provider agreements means that it is cheaper for services to acquire VoD rights and disk rights to content than streaming and also that you can get newer content.
I use amazon primarily for these services now because it is nice to have that “Got to have it now” access to a huge catalogue of movies that will likely never be made available to streaming buffets.
I am probably going to go back for a while to eye the new content at least with a minimal plan though the decision is hard because they irked me so much I want my money (or lack there of) to continue to speak that no simple retraction of quikster can put my confidence back into place they are going to have a long road to make me a real fan again and if other services like amazon add the extra access methodologies into place I wont hesitate jumping to something that has a better cost/benefit balance for my needs.