April 4, 2010

Warner Brothers Deal Further Decreases Netflix Value

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netflix150 I can’t imagine that Netflix is happy.  Since Netflix and competitor Redbox are the lowest profit distribution points for studios, Warner Brothers have “struck a deal” (carrot/bribe or stick/threat – do you think?) so that Netflix will not offer DVDs for rental until 28 days after they go on sale.

What does this mean for you Netflix subscribers?  Well, it partially explains my observation in my previous article – Netflix Popular New Releases – Not So Much!  Let’s get more specific than that though.

I hadn’t heard about the above deal, so I put The Twilight Saga: New Moon in my Netflix queue on the week it released (March 20, 2010).  Take a look at my queue for how this and other recent requests are listed:

netflix-q Hmm, it doesn’t say that they don’t actually have it yet, does it?  I suppose many people don’t realize the big decrease in value that has come to Netflix and just think they are one of the unlucky few who aren’t getting it first. 

I think it is misleading, to say the least.  Frankly, why else do we pay the monthly fee if not to view recently released DVDs? 

So, what can you do if you want to view one of these *newly released* DVDs ?  You have lots of options, all of which happen to make the studios more money:

  • It is available “on demand” from Comcast for just $5.99
  • Buy it online for about $20 (Wal-mart has it for $17 + tax + $2 shipping, for example)
  • Buy it now! on ebay.com for about $10.

I was a pretty early customer of Netflix and I love some of the innovations they have made.  I love their “watch instantly” option and I’ve watched several TV series completely online via Xbox Live.  However, I see little reason to keep paying for “3 at a time” DVDs when I can’t get the latest and greatest.   If I wait 28 days, I can buy the video on ebay.com for around $5 – so I could buy 3 per month instead of having a Netflix subscription.

I am certainly going to downsize my account.  I’ll probably change to the $8.99 option for now, so I can keep the online TV shows on demand, but I’m definitely going to start looking at other streaming options, because, from my point-of-view, the online streaming videos is all I’m using Netflix for at this point.

Jeff Jones writes about a wide range of topics, but has a particular interest in computers, technology, science fiction, poker and chai tea lattes. He moved to Snoqualmie in 2006, he works for a little company in Redmond during the day and spends the rest of the time with family and friends.

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