Like 10's of millions of people I am a Netflix user.
I have been for some time, almost 10 years I think. I tried Blockbuster when it came out and left after about 3 months. Blockbuster was out of it's league.
So NOW as the blog title suggests I'm PISSED OFF.
Unlike the bandwaggon folks who are upset about the recent rate hike. I've been pissed for some time. I've been ranting about NF practices for some time.
I'll start at the beginning....
When NF came on the scene they were a unique and inovative way to rent DVD's. We all know how it works. Go online, select your movie, they send it via mail, you watch it, and send it back. EASY and BRILLIANT!! The cost $4.99. As they got more popular the rates went up. $7.99, $8.99, 14.99, etc...Now the most common plan Streaming and 3 out at a time is $22. This is a far cry from $4.99. Some inflation and raised prices is expected, but usually that comes with more service or better selection. In my opinion NF has created a grand illusion that tricks it's members into thinking they have been given a better offering.
Let me explain....
10 or so years ago...NF only had DVDs. They had new movies and a pretty good selection of older ones. The service was pretty straight forward. Find what you want and queue it up. YOu could rate, review, create movie top ten lists, and network. You could search and view ALL of NF inventory, by type of movie, actor, director, genre etc...
Eventaually, NF started to use a more advanced Algorithm that would show you ONLY movies that you might enjoy based on your ratings. You could still search and find movies by genre, but the listing was limited.
NOW the Algorithm is SUPER SMART and signficiantly limits how many movies you can see in a given category. of the 200K movies NF has you can see maybe 500-1000. using the categories listed. If you want you can search for any title they have but you have to actively search for it.
With the introduction of steaming movies...NF started to move to a completely streaming offering. However they saw that Redbox was still a viable option for some people killing Blockbuster and eating into NF profits. So they've decided to hold on to the DVD service a while longer. That's OK as the streaming offering is still limited.
NF used to allow you to search all of the DVD's/streaming media they had. Now like the DVD's you can only see that NF thinks you would like. They used to allow you to add DVD's to your queue from any streaming application, they changed that shortly after it went big. They used to have drill down categories for online viewing. It made it very easy and offered a tonne of options for movies you may not have known about. NOW, they went back to the 75 or so titles by genre, and you queue. No drill downs only what they say you'll like (Maybe). I actually had one category that showed a bunch of movies I've already seen, and it wasn't the "watch it again section".
Here is what I think is really happening at NF.
Their DVD rental business was the shit when they started. The largest cost to them was postage. They even admitted as much. They were so hung up on it that they started to send established users DVD's slower than new customers. Basically because they felt they has the established users in their pocket. NF lost a class action suit because of this and had to give out free months of membership.
Instead of slowing down mailing they created a way to slow YOU down. The algorithm is designed to limit what you can choose from. If you choose/rent less they pay less in shipping costs.
When the Streaming media came along and got big they again realized that they could push the streaming side of the offering and incur less postage costs.
What they found was the people would watch steaming content and forget about DVD's, which is why they took away the add to queue option.
The DVD's served as a physical reminder that you needed to pick another DVD. Streaming is just a service that's there when you want it.
All of these things are meant to purposely limit exposure to movies, and content so that you and me as users don't actually use the service. Well at least not as much as we could or would if we had immediate access to content.
So what does NF do...NOT only do they raise their rates...but they split the rates ups. Supposedly for our benefit.
The net result is higher cost all around...and all things being equal, comparatively less available content.
With Sites like HULU, Amazon, and VUDU getting into the mix NF has to start loosening it's reigns on it's customers and offering a better service. Right now they are king of the Mountain, but once someone has similar selection and easier browsability, NF will go the way of Blockbuster if they aren't careful.
RIGHT NOW...I can't help but feel a bit cheated.