The Horror of Netflix

I am an American.  I deserve free stuff.  That’s why for years Netflix was my favorite company; they understood.  But no more.  In an heinous act of betrayal the company took what it used to offer for free, and said they are going to charge for it.  The nerve!!  

I won’t stand for it, I tell you.  I rather give up on the whole 50k-plus library of movies, any of which  I can get in a day’s notice.  And I rather give up on the ton of stuff I can stream from my DVD players, my Wii, my Roku, my PC, my laptops, and my phones.  I mean, who do they think they are?  Sure, the streaming was free for nearly three years, but now they want to charge me 30 cents a day for what I used to get free!  30 cents a day!!!  And sure, I can stream it anywhere, any time, but come on, get real!!  30 cents a day!!  That’s nearly one twentieth the cost of a daily cup of coffee were I stupid enough to buy it at a coffee shop.  

OK, sure, I asked for more content, and they have to negotiate deals with studios, production houses, copyright holders, etc. to accommodate my demands for more content, but who would have thought they would be unwilling to eat the cost?!?!  I tell you, if anything symbolizes the decline of America, this is it!  

Thank goodness other companies understand how I, as an American, should be treated.  I can still get free wi-fi where ever I am willing to buy $6 coffees, and I can get free wi-fi and continental breakfasts when I pay $80 to stay at a motel, and I get free on-demand programming when I subscribe to cable or satellite companies.  When I paid around $30K for my car last year I got free oil changes for the first 20,000 miles.  Hear that Netflix?  20,000 miles, free oil changes!  That’s like four oil changes!

OK, nobody but me likes sarcasm, but I really don’t get the disproportionate reaction to the change in the Netflix pricing structure.  They were offering something for free on top of what they originally offered, and logic tells me it got expensive.  I see nothing wrong with them saying “Hey, we have to start charging for this”.  

Look at it like this; they offered subscribers a product while they worked on it.  Software companies do this all the time; they offer free beta versions of a program while they work out the bugs and perfect its functions.  Once it’s ready for release, you have to pay for the commercial version.

And perhaps that was Netflix’s mistake.  They did not make it clear that as some point people would have to pay for the finished product.  

I know people have said they have or will cancel because of the grievous harm done to them by Netflix, but I have looked at the alternatives, and none of them are quite there. Perhaps I am singular in my thinking, but for the money Netflix offers a heck of a lot value, even under the new pricing structure.  By the way, if you subscribe to the 3 disk at a time option, like I am, the increase is not double; it works out to about $4 more a month.

Some people are complaining they are running out of stuff to rent, and that is why they are going to quit.  But consider this; people buy movies to own so they can watch them when the mood strikes them.  I know many people, me included who indulge in multiple viewing of the Star Trek series, Firefly, various comedy series, movies, etc.  

I own some of them, but given the choice I opt to stream even the ones I own as opposed to getting the DVD, load it, etc.  For one I eliminate the risk of damaging the disks I own.  Yes, I backed them up, but that adds to the effort and storage issue, and neither the originals or backups are easily portable.  

The point is half of what we watch on Netflix, sometimes more, are repeat viewings.  Not because we don’t have anything new to rent; it’s because we like certain movies and shows, and I don’t own them all.  And yes, there is a ton of content I’ve yet to watch.

Along with the above reasons, other people say they are going to subscribe to other services.  That makes even less sense to me.  All other options I looked at have less of the same content, and for the same or more money.

So, I think this is mostly an emotional issue with people, perhaps a derivative of the “I am entitled to free stuff!!” mentality which is so pervasive in today’s society.  Certainly I have yet to hear an adult argument as to why people who where members, enjoyed the service, now balk at the extra money it costs.  

The way my wife and I look at it is that for about the price of us going to a movie theater once a month, we have access to a pretty impressive library of entertainment . . . and none of it in 3D!  Win.  

But OK, I understand some people don’t think Netflix is worth the money, or it does not fit their needs . . . fine, cancel.  But please, stop whining about it.