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Allhallowsday
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« on: January 19, 2011, 01:00:26 AM »

Netflix Is Abandoning DVDs, Customers Who Prefer DVDs 
When Netflix started up more than 10 years ago, its sales pitch was pretty simple: Hey, subscribe to us, and we'll mail you DVDs that you can then mail back to us without worrying about any late fees. But as the rental market moves toward online and on-demand models, Netflix's iconic red envelopes may eventually become as antiquated as VHS tapes. Beefing up their streaming business, Netflix has predicted that in about two years their economics will be geared more toward their "Watch Instantly" service than through physical discs. For that to happen, Netflix will have to nudge their DVD-loyal customers to the new platform. And on Monday, the company learned just how hard that may be.

In a seemingly innocent 109-word blog post, Netflix director of product management Jamie Odell announced, "We're removing the 'Add to DVD Queue' option from streaming devices," suggesting that it was being done so that the company "can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly." Granted, the Netflix website still allows DVD queue updating, but this post, dropped on the morning of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, created an immediate firestorm of comments -- most of them very, very angry.

"Clearly Netflix wants to send less discs through the mail, and therefore wants to make it more difficult for the user to add to their queue in furtherance of that," wrote "Eldendor." "Horrible idea!" wrote "usrbingeek." "Especially when there are still few titles available for streaming and the titles that you do have, seem to have very narrow license windows." On and on came the complaints, with most responders saying essentially (1) I like having access to DVDs even if I use a PS3 or mobile phone to stream movies on Netflix; and (2) there aren't enough good titles available on "Watch Instantly." "I think this is a totally foolish move on your part. I like to be able to add movies to my DVD queue from my iPhone," commented "b.dsign."  "f this means that netflix is going to add more movies to watch instantly i support the change," "Beto" wrote, "but if they are not, then it's just a bad idea." 

As of yet Netflix hasn't released any response, which, really, is their response. Whether customers like or not, Netflix knows that the future is moving away from physical discs and toward instant access. And, really, none of us who use Netflix should be surprised: Back in November the company announced that they were offering a new lower subscription rate for streaming-only customers while increasing the rate for people who still wanted DVDs. Right now, if you want DVDs from Netflix, the company is less than thrilled with you: They need you to get used to the idea of streaming films and TV shows so that you'll drop the physical disc habit: a craving, ironically, that they themselves created thanks to the ease of their iconic red envelopes... 

http://blog.movies.yahoo.com/blog/432-netflix-is-abandoning-dvds-customers-who-prefer-dvds
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Jim H
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 01:34:57 AM »

They seriously need to boost up their streaming movie selection if they want to keep customers over the next two years.  If they dropped discs right now, I'd cancel my subscription.  In addition to the selection, I only have one Netflix viewing device, which is situated in a location very poor for multiple viewers, so the discs are also nice for that.  And, of course, 95% of streaming titles are worse quality than a good DVD.  I've NEVER seen a streaming movie that was better than a DVD, not even the HD stuff.  Not to mention a lack of subtitle/language choices on the streaming crap, something they sorely need to address.

The watch instantly stuff has improved tremendously in the past couple years, but I'm very dubious that two years is soon enough to be as good as the disc selection currently is.

Quote
Whether customers like or not, Netflix knows that the future is moving away from physical discs and toward instant access

That's an incredibly stupid statement.  If everyone right now refused to ever watch on demand content on NetFlix and other services, are we really to believe that they'd just go "Oh well!  We don't want money, so we're quitting the movie business!".  If there's a large market for discs they can make money on, the studios will continue to press discs.  And such a market exists and is not going away soon. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 02:04:10 AM »

Well, it seems a natural progression for Netflix. The technology shift from VHS to DVD is the very reason Netflix exists. Mailing VHS tapes would be ridiculous, it's only the portability of DVD that made it possible. Really made the temporary movie warehouse of video stores look antiquated. Especially since the catalog of a warehouse with no need for advertising space could stock more obscure films than you could shake a stick at.

At the same time, the honchos at Netflix have made it a habit of removing fully functional aspects of their website in the name of pleasing their stupider customers. They removed all links to their New Release page because "they said" that people got confused when they didn't immediately get the movies they put in their queue. Never mind all of us who understand release dates. (The page is still there, but you have to search for it outside their own website.)

The thing that really killed me, and made me distrust anything their managers said, is the removal of the friend system. You used to be able to add people as your friends, and whenever you looked up a movie, you could see what your friend rated that film. It was one of my favorite aspects of the site. I had a lot of friends, people from this website, and if I was curious about a film, I could see what they thought of it. They removed it, ostensibly because a "very small" portion of their customers used it. It was my favorite aspect of the site!

Netflix is run by middle-managers who don't understand anything.

That being said, they are not as immune as they think they are. Of course they want everybody to stream from them, it's cheaper and, yes, it is the wave of the future. Then again, the streaming selection is so severely curtailed from the broadness of selection they should really care about.

I'm sure they would love to have everybody stream only, but I don't think they're far gone enough to punish those who still get DVDs mailed to them. For one, the movie studios hate Netflix. Sure, make us all stream movies, but do you think you will get the rights to give away movies to people they were hoping would throw their money on Blu-ray?
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Jack
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 08:38:29 AM »

Kind of hard to get past the ridiculous anti-Netflix agitprop of the article to actually focus on what little information is contained in it.  Netflix is going to beef up their streaming service over the next couple of years, which is good.  They removed the "add to DVD queue" option from streaming devices, which I didn't realize was even there to start with.  You can't choose anything that's NOT available for streaming on streaming devices, so I can't really think of a less useful feature.  Someone would rather wait for the DVD to arrive rather than just watch the movie right now, on the streaming device they're obviously using?  Well, you'll have to walk all the way over to your PC to do that now.

Obviously as customer demand for streaming increases over time, Netflix will want to do more to satisfy those customers.  But other than a great deal of childish trolling on the part of the blogger, I see nothing to suggest that they're abandoning the DVD market, or anything of the sort.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 08:46:32 AM by Jack » Logged

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Mr. DS
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 08:50:19 AM »

This was in plan awhile ago.   As others stated, the streaming selection needs to beef up and include new releases. 
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A.J. Bauer
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 09:53:26 AM »

I just got Netflix. The DVDs annoy me. I prefer the instant streaming. I have to wait for the DVD in the mail and I only get one at a time unless I upgrade my account. If I upgrade my account, my cheap old $12 /mo. becomes something expensive like $23 /mo.

If it was all streamed it would be more convenient. Actually I had to upgrade from $10 to $12 /mo. just to GET the DVDs.

Mind you, genre searches on Netflix tend to have B-Movies so bad they don't deserve to be on this site. That's a lot of sorting. I think films of 2 stars or less should deleted off of the stream.
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 09:54:42 AM »

Quote
Mind you, genre searches on Netflix tend to have B-Movies so bad they don't deserve to be on this site. That's a lot of sorting. I think films of 2 stars or less should deleted off of the stream.

that would be bad for sites like this!
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A.J. Bauer
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 09:58:29 AM »

Quote
Mind you, genre searches on Netflix tend to have B-Movies so bad they don't deserve to be on this site. That's a lot of sorting. I think films of 2 stars or less should deleted off of the stream.

that would be bad for sites like this!

I suppose. Maybe there should be a "sort by rating system".
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 10:20:02 AM »


I suppose. Maybe there should be a "sort by rating system".


There is.  Or there used to be.  I used it all the time.

Quote

Kind of hard to get past the ridiculous anti-Netflix agitprop of the article to actually focus on what little information is contained in it.


This is typical of the yahoo.com "news" articles.  More stance-taking and little (correct) substance.

Quote

If they dropped discs right now, I'd cancel my subscription.  In addition to the selection, I only have one Netflix viewing device


Ditto the first.

They don't offer a streaming client for Linux, so I'm out.  I'm not buying ANY kind of software/hardware just to watch streamed movies on Netflix.  Well...check that.  If they offered a Linux client that I had to buy, I would consider it.  I'm not buying another OS for my computer JUST to watch movies on Netflix.

Truthfully, we have not been taking advantage of our Netflix membership for nearly a year.  With the 3 at a time plan, we've sometimes watched only one per month. 

So, *IF* they went with this no-disc policy soon, I'd drop my membership that day.  What is really sad, is there no way to provide that feedback directly to Netflix - there's not "Contact Us" on the web site; all the "Help" is canned FAQ style stuff.

The streaming "Instant" watch is a nice feature, and I can see their reason to moving that direction.  It's a business move.  But so will be my dropping them if they remove the discs as an option.


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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 02:39:14 PM »

Quote
Kind of hard to get past the ridiculous anti-Netflix agitprop of the article to actually focus on what little information is contained in it.
This is typical of the yahoo.com "news" articles.  More stance-taking and little (correct) substance.
Well, I have elephant's memory...  Wink  However, I will clarify that the majority of my news items are sourced from Yahoo 'cause that's where I have the email address I use everyday.  Comparables are easy to find.  Though I often don't care for their tone and the writing, the content's there.  I post them as I see them and never initially with comment of any sort.  It's up to the reader to decide any story's merit.  Don't like 'em, don't read 'em.  I will say this: I've never used Netflix and know little about it, but was interested in what the movie buffs here think.   
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Jim H
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 04:32:07 PM »

Kind of hard to get past the ridiculous anti-Netflix agitprop of the article to actually focus on what little information is contained in it.  Netflix is going to beef up their streaming service over the next couple of years, which is good.  They removed the "add to DVD queue" option from streaming devices, which I didn't realize was even there to start with.  You can't choose anything that's NOT available for streaming on streaming devices, so I can't really think of a less useful feature.  Someone would rather wait for the DVD to arrive rather than just watch the movie right now, on the streaming device they're obviously using?  Well, you'll have to walk all the way over to your PC to do that now.

Obviously as customer demand for streaming increases over time, Netflix will wzzant to do more to satisfy those customers.  But other than a great deal of childish trolling on the part of the blogger, I see nothing to suggest that they're abandoning the DVD market, or anything of the sort.


The add to queue was nice because if you searched for a film and found it was disc only, you could immediately add it to your queue.  Good feature, with no reason at all to remove it.  Yet another dumbass move.

Also, vhs rent by mail did exist.  Limited though.

By the way, rereading the article it doesn't sound like they plan to phase out DVDs for quite a while.
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 10:29:36 PM »

I just got Netflix. The DVDs annoy me. I prefer the instant streaming. I have to wait for the DVD in the mail and I only get one at a time unless I upgrade my account.

Agreed.
The DVD's are kind of a nuisance to me sometimes. (I've been a Netflix customer for almost 3 years)
I already have more than enough to watch on instant streaming so the DVD they sent me that's sitting on top of my TV is just one more film I have to watch. 
Example:  Netflix sent me the new Russell Crowe film "Robin Hood" on DVD on December 9th.
It's now January 19th and I have yet to watch it.  It's been sitting in its sleeve on my TV this whole time and literally has a layer of dust on it.

I prefer instant streaming.
All Netflix needs now is better titles for it.  Ever scroll through their instant streaming catalogue?
There's a ton of movies that not only have I never heard of, but I'm thinking, "How the hell did that film even get made?"
They definitely need to add more recent titles and new releases.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:36:41 PM by Ash » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 10:35:21 PM »

Quote
Mind you, genre searches on Netflix tend to have B-Movies so bad they don't deserve to be on this site. That's a lot of sorting. I think films of 2 stars or less should deleted off of the stream.

that would be bad for sites like this!

I suppose. Maybe there should be a "sort by rating system".
I agree with Lester- that would be bad for the site, not only because of some b-movies being only on DVD (Cough Xanadu Cough), but someone might actually enjoy watching movies that bad because the new movies are just the same s**t over and over again.
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