Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why I Like NetFlix

I have used NetFlix since 2004 and have been very happy with the service. In this blog post, I briefly look at some things NetFlix has done to keep my business.

The Model

One of the things that I have been happy about with NetFlix is its model.  This was what attracted me to sign up for the service in the first place and it continues to meet my needs well.  Being able to create a queue of movies to see and have them mailed directly to my home is convenient.  It was so nice to be freed from the burden of standing in line at Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, or other video store outlet.  It was also a welcome relief to have such easy access to such a wide variety of movie titles without the limitation of the physical size of a store.  There is no question that the NetFlix model, combined with the Redbox concept and the relatively cheap availability of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, has led to the downfall of the brick-and-mortar video stores.  There are few businesses I know of that had abused their own customers as much as these stores, so I think many of us are glad to see them going away.

In recent years, NetFlix has demonstrated a commitment to providing modern convenience in movie access.  The availability of a subset of their movie inventory via streaming on Wii, PlayStation 3, and select Blu-ray players is their latest effort to improve an already convenient model for accessing movies.  Not all movies in their inventory are available for streaming, so I find myself using a combination of discs by mail and streaming. It is nice to know, though, that NetFlix is continuing to make movies available in a modern, convenient manner.

Automatic Price Reduction

Years ago, I received an e-mail message from NetFlix stating that they were lowering my automatically charged monthly subscription fee because they were offering the lower monthly subscription fee to new customers.  How many providers of a monthly service have ever done that for you?  I cannot think of another.  Whether it be long-distance in the old days, cable or satellite service, cellular telephone service, or any other such service, it has always seemed to be that a current customer had to threaten or actually quit the service to get the reduced rates offered to new customers.  I didn't have to do this with NetFlix.

The Bonus Discs

Something NetFlix has recently done is to provide a fourth disc to have at home (I'm on the three-at-a-time plan) more than once.  This was not the most significant reason to me for staying with NetFlix, but it is another small thing to add to the reasons why I've been a satisfied customer of NetFlix for many years.


There are many reasons to like NetFlix.  Their service is convenient, relatively economical (especially when considering the streaming at no extra charge), and provides easy access to a wide library of movies.  It has also been refreshing to deal with a company like NetFlix which seems to understand that the secret to keeping customers even when the customers have competitive alternatives is to do the little things correctly.


  1. Since writing this post, NetFlix has made streaming available via Wii, PS3, and XBox 360, all without any requirement for a disc to be in the player. Also, I have noticed that streaming has really turned up interest in NetFlix among my friends and family members. Almost everyone I know now has at least the streaming only plan. With so many NetFlix-ready devices (like the game consoles mentioned above and TiVo), this is not surprising.

  2. NetFlix is Abandoning DVDs, Customers Who Prefer DVDs is an interesting read about where NetFlix wants to move its business model. I like NetFlix's convenient streaming, but the majority of movies I'm interested in seeing are still not streamable. I hope that this changes before they stop sending out DVDs.

  3. The article Studios' and Netflix's Newest Threat: $1 Online Rentals From Zediva talks about a new competitor for NetFlix called Zediva (this site is currently down due to "some exceptional customer growth this week as we officially launched Zediva to the public," but status can be seen on Twitter.

  4. I found the article Netflix Helps People Cut Cable Code, Report Says, to be interesting and to bear out what I have witnessed. As some of the article's feedback comments state, live sports and limited movie/television are the most significant reasons more people aren't using NetFlix to replace cable/satellite.


  5. I'm a disappointed to hear that NetFlix is again raising their prices. As outlined in the online article Netflix Raises DVD, Streaming Plan Price by 60 Percent, NetFlix is using pricing incentives to "encourage" users to choose either streaming or DVDs by mail or pay a premium for both. The price change takes effect in the billing period after 1 September 2011, so I'm going to use the next month or so to decide if I should change plans (fewer DVDs at a time) or cancel NetFlix altogether. I'll probably look at what other streaming options are out there and, if one of them is competitive, switch to DVDs only for NetFlix because there is still only a relatively small subset of movies available via streaming. Another option would be to retain NetFlix for streaming with one DVD or no DVDs and use Redbox more. It's unlikely that I'll stay with my current plan and its 20% increase.

    One thing to consider is the delay of many newly released movies on DVD that is a price paid to have streaming of other movies. It may make sense to keep NetFlix's streaming only and get DVDs from outlets that have new movies sooner. For now, I need to compare Amazon and other streaming services to NetFlix and compare other DVD outlets and make a decision before September.

  6. The article NetFlix Alternatives: Other Places You Can Get Streaming Media, DVD Rentals is a useful summary of some options available for consumers. I'm considering switching NetFlix to DVD only (and probably reduce 3 at a time to 1 or 2 at a time) and then combining Hulu Plus (more movies are streamable) with the free streamable videos from Amazon Prime.

  7. NetFlix Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings sent an e-mail message with the subject An Explanation and Some Reflections to NetFlix customers earlier this week. Perhaps the biggest piece of news is the official announcement that the DVD and streaming businesses are to be handled completely separately with separate web sites, separate logos, separate names, and even separate billing. Streaming will continue to be available via the Netflix brand and DVDs (and Blu-rays and games) will be available via the Qwikster brand.

    This announcement has had an interesting effect for me. I was struggling with trying to decide whether to keep the DVD side, the streaming side, or both with my NetFlix account. One disadvantage of moving to Hula, for example, was having different websites, billings, and rental records to deal with. Now that it turns out this will be the case even with NetFlix, it is easier to mix and match options with competitors. For now, I'm leaning toward abandoning the DVD rental side (Qwikster), retain the streaming side (NetFlix) and use Redbox and online rentals to see movies that NetFlex streaming does not provide (which is still most movies by the way).

    In the article With All Respect To Reed Hastings, The Netflix-Qwikster Split Bad For Customers, Henry Blodget looks at why NetFlix may be making this separation, but also points out why customers may like this even less than the recent price increase.

  8. Change the Channel: 5 NetFlix and Qwikster Alternatives covers some alternatives to NetFlix and Qwikster and examines how these alternatives (Hulu/Hulu Plus, YouTube Movies, Amazon's Instant Video, Apple TV, and Blockbuster) fare against each other and against these soon-to-be-two services.

  9. has announced signing a deal with FOX to bring more television and movies to their "unlimited instant streaming service." According to the announcement, "We now have deals with CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros, and adding FOX will bring the total to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows available for unlimited instant streaming." For those of us who already have Amazon Prime for the free two-day shipping, this is a real boon and Amazon Prime is starting to shape up as a viable, cost-effective alternative to NetFlix.