Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Sad thing about Netflix

Like so many others, D & I threw off the yoke of cable television because we didn't want to pay for it and we so rarely enjoyed any of the content we were paying for.  And too many commercials.  *of course, we got cable back so that D could watch his fuhball, but they almost never aired the Seahawks (TM,copyright, etc. etc)  games anyway.  We learned our lesson there, and will be getting satellite during the fuhball season, and then we'll cancel the service over the summer.  Netflix was something we touted to our families.  We rediscovered old films that we’d loved, discovered newer shows that we had missed (Pushing Daisies!).  No commercials!  Unlimited!  BBC shows and foreign films! 

When we looked at the 60% price hike on the face of it, we were ticked, yes, but our loyalty to Netflix chafed at the idea that we might leave their service.  We use it all the time.  We don't want cable.  blah blah

But really, so much of the content that used to be plentiful and accessible to streaming has been yanked.  There's nothing good in there that's convenient, and classic old films and 80's greats have been pulled out in favor of obscure film atrocities like Megashark Versus Giant Octopus, that no one wants to see.  The good films are on disk rotation, but we can rent films or download content from any number of other services.  We do have it on all the time, but when we talked about it, we noticed that we don't really enjoy it.  I watched old episodes of Cheers (though I've already made it up to the Kirstie Alley seasons, so I may as well stop watching anyway).  Actually upon reflection I realized that I'm not watching it so much as turning it on only to walk out of the room.  I listen to the shows from the kitchen while I wash dishes, etc.  (I'm like an old lady, I turn on the tv for company) D watches terrible things such as Deadliest Warrior to pass the time, not because he actually enjoys it (thank god, that show is ridiculous).  So we turn it off and do something else.  We have a fantastic library.  He has aikido.  I have dance.  We have so much else to do, and why don't we spend our time doing things that we'll actually enjoy? 

We're pretty much decided that we'll abandon Netflix in September, after years of patronage.  I only pause because of the foreign language content.  For Japanese language content, its kind of the only option unless I want to get NHK on satellite, which is a totally separate satellite service which requires its own dish and its own package.  And Thai films like Ong Bak?  Or the fantastic 2046 out of Hong Kong?  Or the utterly delicious Eat Drink Man Woman out of Taiwan? Or the super fun Absurdistan?  Nowhere but Netflix has such a rich and varied catalog of foreign films available as borrowed content. 

Most everyone knows that this is only going to hurt Netflix. Studios simply haven’t learned that a percentage of a small legit sale is more money than 100% of zero dollars.  A lot of consumers are going to migrate to other services, and some are going to go back to piracy.  There's just too many other options now to validate paying $20 bucks a month on a service that has not improved, has actually gotten less accessible.  A 60% price increase? I'm still torn about the foreign film issue.  We're definitely getting rid of streaming and if not switching to a single dvd plan, we're quitting altogether and going to Amazon Prime's content. 

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