Just for clarity I’m not on the Neflix payroll though I may as well be. I’m a fan. But no moola from them. I should figure out a way to do that.
In July a little part of me died when Netflix split the pricing structure for streaming and postal DVDs but then I was so distracted by the other parts of me that needed more attention that I forgot it took affect today. Until I read the news and then someone’s post who got sniffy about it. I’ve already moved past five stages of grief. It helped that the last DVD we got I didn’t even watch – or open – I don’t have enough time to do the kind of media ingesting that I’d like to these days, but that’s what it is, what with the eating and working and flossing and so on. But I’m good with the streaming. A big reason for that is it streams to our TV through our gaming console. So it’s like watching regular TV. That made a huge difference. And, there is more than enough for our kids, who consume about four times as much as we do. For example, take a look:
As the queue to the left shows, kids shows go until 53. The first 53 shows are for kids. Starting at 54 it’s grown up shows, and those go until 395 currently. Not a typo, nearly 400. And that’s with semi-frequent pruning. And that’s with some of those, like Bones or Psych, being whole seasons of TV. So when I say that there’s enough on there to keep me occupied for the 1 hour or so that I seem to be able to watch most days, I’m not kidding. I’ll never get to everything. I never will. It’s just nice to play with the idea of watching some of them. It’s like having a private selection within the regular selection.
I can understand people who want to queue up Scorcese, everything, not just what’s on streaming, or Haneke or Breaking Bad and plow through them, one after another, and now they have to decide between the DVDs and streaming with a limited budget, yes. I used to have more time to crank through stuff, back in my student days. But, this change was coming, it was possibly the best media deal on the market at the time and that’s why they kept raking in so many customers.
Basically, I thought streaming and mail DVDs was a gift. I didn’t expect the price to stay low long, just like I don’t expect the current rate of $7.99 to stay long if they get better streaming offerings, which they appear to be doing. It’s still cheaper and more convenient than cable, and the live shows that I hear about I can get other ways – borrow from friends, check out from the library, get from RedBox. At least for new stuff. For TV series – that’s the kicker. I don’t know that I’ll get into Game of Thrones, because it’s not exactly my thing, but if another show really starts blowing people away, and not just because it’s better than the latest NCIS clone blows people away, then I’ll have to think twice about it.
Again, I don’t think it’ll stay low. It’d be nice, and people will be Outraged when it eventually goes up, but what are you going to do? Who else has a service that comes even close? They’ve created a monopoly in a market that didn’t really exist 10 years ago. So it’s not really a monopoly yet. Apple and Amazon have streaming movies, and for people who have to see new things when they come out, they can go there. And Hulu is competing, and so are other services. So there’s a chance prices will stay. But if they want key players to give them content, they’ll have to raise the price.
See for example eMusic, which was around before iTunes, which used to offer unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee. (As it turns out, unlimited meant something like less than 1,000 songs a month, which I soon found out). But a ton of music. I have something like 10 GB of music from that service. Most of which I don’t listen to, actually, because it’s pretty mediocre. They gradually got better content, and, as a result of the better content, were probably forced to rethink their model because the majors wanted more money. When they worked with independent music labels they were probably glad to get the music out there – but with majors they demand more money. Now, you can pay $15 for something like $30 worth of music, 30 downloads. Basically you’re paying $.50 per song instead of iTunes’ or Amazon’s $.99 or increasingly common $1.29. That’s still a better deal, but it’s a long ways from where it was. But that original model wasn’t really sustainable, probably. That’s where Netflix was.
And part of me is still in the Gee Whiz It’s Magical to Have So Many Shows On Demand phase – I’m still taken with it. It still feels pro-consumer to me, and I’d love to see it stay that way.