Friday, July 15, 2011

Douchebag of the Week: Netflix

Its been a while since yours truly has written one of these articles, but I feel today is a good time to bring it back. It is actually pretty hard to write these, unless a person or organization pulls a universally recognized "douche" move. I believe Netflix did that this week.

If you live under a rock, Netflix decided to raise their prices on their plans, some by as much as 60%. The unlimited stream/1 DVD option price is increasing $6 to $16 a month. Executives for Netflix are hoping to get more customers to utilize the streaming feature, to access movies and television. The company claims that is costs 75 cents to ship DVDs and only pennies to stream content. Personally, the hike is complete bullshit.

I understand that as a retailer, which Netflix essentially is, you need to raise prices to maintain profitability, but a 60% increase is insane! The Netflix model as a whole is extremely flawed as is.

When new releases hit the DVD shelves, Netflix must wait 28 days to rent a new release. So if you are dying to see "Arthur" you best get your ass to Best Buy and purchase it, or hit up the Redbox. Waiting a month to see new movies is pretty annoying, especially when the price has been driven up 60%.

Netflix boasts a subscription base of over 25 million, and in 2008 had revenue in excess of $150 million. Pretty impressive when you add piracy to the equation. The company is raising prices astronomically, without offering customers anything more.

Currently, I do not subscribe to the Netflix service, although I did at one time. The streaming lineup is full of crappy movies that are obscure, or at least six months old. The company needs to really expand their streaming lineup for this move to be justified.

Overall, this price hike strikes me as greed. The company has all but murdered Blockbuster; that company is dying a very slow death. Mom and Pop video stores? I haven't seen one in years. Bottom line: Netflix is a huge staple in American pop culture. The company does not need to raise prices to be profitable, it needs to better the services they already offer.

A big screw you to Netflix, get me my "Arthur" now, before I hurt someone. Add "Douchebag of the Week" to your many meaningless awards!

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