An Open Letter To Netflix

A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

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Dear Netflix,

Are you stupid?

No, seriously, are you stupid?  I really wanna know.  Because, y’know, it seems that the way you’re acting, it seems that you’re stupid.

Not just a little stupid, but big full-on stupid.  Like “DUR DURR DURRRR” stupid.  Like tattoos on your hands saying “inhale” and “exhale”, only with those words crossed out and replaced with “breathe in” and “breathe out” stupid.

I’m not talking about the price increase.  That’s fine, licensing fees have gone up, postage has gone up, and, well, price of living in general.  Fine, I’m cool with that.  I’m even cool with splitting off the DVD-by-mail plan and the streaming plan.  That makes sense.  Streaming is the future – that much is obvious.  I get both, but streaming is much more convenient — and is potentially cheaper on your end, too, as there’s no packaging or postage to deal with — nor replacement DVDs to buy when things get damaged or anything like that.

It’s obvious your plan is to eventually shoot the DVD-by-mail service — that’s a noble goal, and one I’m wholeheartedly in favor for.  Besides — right now, I’ve got three different devices that have Netflix streaming capability — and that’s not even counting any of my computers.  It COULD NOT BE EASIER for me to Watch Instantly, as you call it, without just saying “NETFLIX” aloud and having films projected directly onto my retinas.

Which would be pretty awesome, actually.  You can have that idea for free.

BUT — and here’s the big but here — the main thing with Netflix that makes it so cool is that there are SO MANY MOVIES available…. but, the bulk of that inventory is DVD only.  When movies come up as being available for streaming, I move them immediately off my DVD queue and into my streaming queue.  But, that said, my DVD queue is still ridiculously long.  I’m a movie geek, and I’ve got a lot that are basically ones that sounded interesting at least at the time, so I threw it in.  As I write this, my DVD queue is 173 entries long — including the 39 in the saved list. That’s…. a lot of movies that aren’t on Instant.  And that’s why I still have a DVD queue.  And I know that I’m a movie geek, and that not everyone probably has queues like that.

And, again, I’m perfectly fine with having two plans, one for DVD and one for streaming.

You announced today that you’re spinning off the DVD part into its own company, Quikster.  Stupid name, but whatever.  And, again, this part kinda-sorta makes sense.  It’s not what I’d have done, but hey, whatever.  Different strokes.  And it’s still part of Netflix, so hey.

Here’s the stupid bit.

The mindblowingly stupid bit.

You make it so the two sites are NOT CONNECTED.  I can’t easily kick things over from my DVD queue into the instant queue as they come up.  I can’t look for a film and see what my options are.  I CAN’T EVEN SEE THE SAME REVIEWS ON BOTH SITES.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, NETFLIX?

Did you get kicked in the head by a horse? That could explain this.

Look, there are two problems here:

First, your Instant Library?  It’s not quite yet big enough to pull this sorta thing.  Especially since you apparently just lost the Starz and Disney libraries.  To make this work, you want to be GAINING libraries, not losing them.

Secondly, the big thing with Netflix is CONVENIENCE.  It was EASY to look at a movie and say “hey, I wanna watch that.”  If it was streaming, then I could watch it right then.  If not, I could just throw it into my queue and have it mailed to me at some point in the future.  And this worked well for you, too — after all, I know I’ve done that and then by the time I get the movie, I don’t really feel like watching it right now, but I feel weird about sending it back so I let it sit on my shelf and sit and sit and eventually I’m paying you 10 bucks a month or whatever for the privilege of having a DVD on my shelf to NOT WATCH.  This is FREE MONEY to you, and it’s not free money that I begrudge you a dime of.  It’s my own fault for not getting the movie back to you and actually USING the service I pay for.

But by breaking this off?  Yeah, you still get the free money if I sit on a disc, but if I have to search a movie on two different sites… well, considering how much of the queue is whim-based, am I really going to bother checking on Qwikster?  Probably not — I’ll probably lose interest when I can’t get instant gratification.  For movies that I feel that I REALLY wanna see — sure, looking in two places isn’t bad.  But for whims?  Not so much.

….and y’know what?  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Y’know how I mentioned about sitting on discs like that?  Those ones aren’t the ones that I’m gonna look on both sites for.  Those are the whim discs.  Those are the ones I added to my queue when I got a wild hair, and then when I get the disc six months later, or whenever it is that it shows up in my mailbox depending on where I placed it on my queue — I go “wait, why did I want to see this?  I must have had a reason… but I don’t feel like it now”.    That’s what sits on my shelf for months because I’m too dumb to send it back.

Way to go.

So, as it is, I’m probably just going to cancel the disc part.  I might massage my queue a bit to move up the essentials, but once I’m done there, I’ll be done.  Because you made it more difficult for me to give you money.

That is typically the opposite of what a good business model is.

That’s another free idea for you, along with the retina thing.  It might not be as cool, but it’s a bit easier to work on.

Love and Kisses,

Rev. Syung Myung Me

 

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