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Good article about Netflix's lack of classics -- Physical Media's continued relevance (1 Viewer)

Race Bannon

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Race Bannon

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I would add one additional thing -- the selection on Netflix is terrible, not just for classics. I don't know how we ever convinced the public that Netflix is what a movie-streaming service looks like. You can't even pay to individually rent a title.

I would take HBO over Netflix any day of the week. And Amazon Prime service combines better with the ability to rent an individual title.

The article ignores this. But it is true that young people don't consider anything but "free all you stream" plans to exist.
 

Dave B Ferris

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It could be that in the future, consumers will need to subscribe to multiple streaming services to satisfy their needs.

In this example, for classics, consumers would probably choose to subscribe to Filmstruck, I imagine.
 

Angelo Colombus

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For the classics i don't have and want to see i go to my local library and have it free for one week. Have been doing that for many years and it's easy for me since it's right down the street where i live but i guess it's not for all who don't have a library near by.
 

EricSchulz

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It was an excellent and VERY true article. I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu and get Amazon Prime through my membership. At least Amazon is currently offering Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz! I may soon drop Netflix for a better classics-centric service.
 

BobO'Link

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It could be that in the future, consumers will need to subscribe to multiple streaming services to satisfy their needs.

In this example, for classics, consumers would probably choose to subscribe to Filmstruck, I imagine.
What "in the future" do you mean? I'd have to do that today were I to try to satisfy my needs. There's not a single service that has everything I'd want to watch and most are rather pathetic when it comes to selection.

The only streaming service I "subscribe" to is Amazon Prime (which I get "free" as I'm actually paying for the shipping). The one thing that especially annoys me is that just when I decide to finally watch a specific film I find it's no longer available! That one reason keeps me from exploring any other service as they all subscribe to such a model.

I just looked at "Filmstruck" to find they, like all the others, cycle films in/out regularly. Epic fail IMHO.

I'll keep my physical media collection. Streaming is for the birds...

This comment from that story sums it up very nicely:
Frankly, this is why I’m keeping all my DVDs... I don't trust the cloud. And I don't trust the marketplace to maintain titles that are in some cases obscure or not terribly commercial.
 

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Most people have no interest in watching older films, classics or not, so I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes that Netflix doesn't offer many of them. The kids referred to in that article wouldn't be watching those movies anyway, so it's a bit of a moot point.

On the positive side, there are more ways to see classics now than ever before for those so inclined. When I was growing up, you had to hope that films you were interested in would show up at a repertory cinema or on TV. Now there's blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, and speciality stations like TCM.
 

Robert Crawford

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Most people have no interest in watching older films, classics or not, so I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes that Netflix doesn't offer many of them. The kids referred to in that article wouldn't be watching those movies anyway, so it's a bit of a moot point.

On the positive side, there are more ways to see classics now than ever before for those so inclined. When I was growing up, you had to hope that films you were interested in would show up at a repertory cinema or on TV. Now there's blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, and speciality stations like TCM.
I got Netflix for one thing and that is their TV series. Chances are I'm going to opt out and then come back when there is enough series for me to watch again.
 

Dave B Ferris

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What "in the future" do you mean? I'd have to do that today were I to try to satisfy my needs. There's not a single service that has everything I'd want to watch and most are rather pathetic when it comes to selection.

The only streaming service I "subscribe" to is Amazon Prime (which I get "free" as I'm actually paying for the shipping). The one thing that especially annoys me is that just when I decide to finally watch a specific film I find it's no longer available! That one reason keeps me from exploring any other service as they all subscribe to such a model.

I just looked at "Filmstruck" to find they, like all the others, cycle films in/out regularly. Epic fail IMHO.

I'll keep my physical media collection. Streaming is for the birds...

This comment from that story sums it up very nicely:

I meant, in the future for those who are contemplating becoming "cord cutters".
 

Matt Hough

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Yes, I can count on the fingers of my two hands the number of films I've streamed on Netflix.

BUT, I have streamed not only many of their original series but also have used it to catch up with other TV shows that I haven't otherwise watched but can catch up with through them. Currently, I'm working through the available episodes of I, zombie which I have never watched on the CW. I also caught up with season two of Legends of Tomorrow since I had dropped it after season one but found myself with time on my hands this summer and pretty much enjoyed the romance free season two. Lots of British TV like Father Brown and the wonderful Canadian series Murdoch Mysteries. There are a lot of choice series to pick from.
 

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I think the mistake is that some people view Netflix as being The Library Of Everything, and get surprised when Netflix doesn't carry a particular title. (You could say the same for Amazon Prime.) The thing is, these services aren't designed to be like a video store. Netflix isn't the 21st century equivalent of Blockbuster, it's the 21st century version of HBO.

HBO is a curated service that offers a selection of newer and older films, mostly on the newer side, but their subscriptions are driven primarily by their original content, be it original films or series. That sounds pretty much exactly like the Netflix of today.

I think it's a fools errand to subscribe to Netflix if your goal is to have access to all content ever produced. I think it makes sense to subscribe to Netflix if you like their originals, or if you like having a constantly rotating selection of films that have been curated for you to try. If you're looking for something like a video store, that's what ala carte rental services like iTunes and Vudu are for. To expect Netflix to carry the full selection of iTunes for a monthly fee that's under $10 seems like a ridiculous expectation to me.

Sometimes HBO doesn't have movies from a particular decade or year, and no one cries bloody murder over that. I don't see why there should be outrage if Netflix doesn't have a particular title or films from a certain year at a certain moment. Their mission isn't to carry everything in perpetuity.

Most people don't want to own a large collection of movies, and most people aren't as picky about what to watch as us dedicated movie fans are. My parents are like that - they encouraged my love of movies, but they wouldn't revisit the same things over and over as I would, especially my dad. They just want to watch movies to relax at the end of the day. So if Netflix doesn't have the specific thing they had in mind, that's fine, there are hundreds of other choices - and chances are, they didn't have a specific thing in mind in the first place.
 

SteveJKo

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...Netflix isn't the 21st century equivalent of Blockbuster, it's the 21st century version of HBO....

Josh I think that's exactly the issue. As Leonard Maltin is quoted as saying in the article....

“Netflix's mission statement has changed. Their focus is on original content. And they’re no longer focused on serving their former customer base.”

Many of us think of Netflix as it was years ago. And years ago they seemed to have everything, at least on disc. Eventually I switched over to streaming. It was fun at first, there certainly is a good amount of TV available. But as time went, I eventually gave it up. The classics just don't exist there. And in general I was finding their movie selection just plain bad. Perhaps I should try Amazon Prime. I can't tell you how I miss my local video store. When I think of the classics I discovered there, but no more......:(. Even Blockbuster had a better selection of classics, and that's saying something.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Many of us think of Netflix as it was years ago. And years ago they seemed to have everything, at least on disc.

Leonard Maltin's quote is perfect, thank you for highlighting that.

Some if it certainly has to do with rights issues. If I'm a video store, and I buy a DVD copy of "Casablanca", I can rent that copy forever (or at least as long as the disc is in physically condition). But if I'm a streaming service, there's no such thing as an "in perpetuity" license (or if there is, it's extremely hard to come by). So, if I want to offer "Casablanca" on my service, I have to pay to license it and re-license it over and over again, maybe once a year, maybe more often, maybe less, but over and over nonetheless. I have to keep paying for the same content over and over, regardless of how often it's being streamed. If "Casablanca" isn't a popular DVD rental for me, I only need to keep a couple copies on hand, and that's not a big expense. But if it's not a popular streaming title, there's no discount for that.

A lot of times, studios and rights holders offer packages to services like Netflix, similar to how they bundled films with premium cable in the 80s and 90s. If Netflix wants to carry a Disney/Marvel hit like "Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2," Disney isn't going to allow them the option to license just that title. Disney is going to insist on taking a package of films that may include hits like Guardians 2, but also some megaflops like (just making up an example) Nicolas Cage's flop "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". And Disney is gonna make you pay for Sorcerer's Apprentice, even though there's zero interest in that title.

So, on a business level, I get it. When they were primarily a DVD service, they could just buy the copies, pay once, and be done with it. The only real expense to maintaining a library of obscure catalog titles and less frequently rented titles was the storage space. But with streaming licenses, they're being asked to pay for the same titles again and again, if not on a yearly basis, then every two or three years. And that starts adding up quickly. It's one thing to have a title you spent $20 for a disc copy of that goes out once a year -- doesn't really hurt anything to hold onto that, and just having that item available will be attractive to customers even if they don't rent it. But if you're being asked to spend thousands of dollars every year for a title that one person watched, there's no way to make that math work.
 

EricSchulz

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I am lucky enough to live in Chicago and have found two DVD/VHS rental stores. Considering that Redbox rarely has anything I'd rent (other than the big titles), and Netflix and the other streaming services seem to ignore the "little"/classic films, I'm back to DVD renting!
 

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I would add one additional thing -- the selection on Netflix is terrible, not just for classics. I don't know how we ever convinced the public that Netflix is what a movie-streaming service looks like. You can't even pay to individually rent a title.

Respectfully,

What you think Netflix is, and what Netflix actually is, are 2 different things. Netflix is primarily for it’s own content, much like HBO, not classic films. If you go into a grocery store looking to buy clothing then you realize they only sell food, that isn’t the grocery store’s fault.

I just looked at "Filmstruck" to find they, like all the others, cycle films in/out regularly. Epic fail IMHO.

I'll keep my physical media collection. Streaming is for the birds...

Respectfully,

Thanks to the $99/yr option, I pay $8.25/month for FilmStruck. For that, I watch approximately 20 Criterion titles a month. Replicating that experience with physical media would cost $400-$500 a month.

There are a lot of people who need to take a long look at whether streaming really holds as little value as they say it does to hardcore film fans.

I LOVE that the members enjoy purchasing physical media, but these broad absolutes that physical=good and streaming=bad, which cause everybody to pile on like fresh kibble had just been laid out, are just getting so dang tiresome.

It’s about the films, not the format.
 
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BobO'Link

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I LOVE that the members enjoy purchasing physical media, but these broad declarations about streaming, which cause everybody to pile on like fresh kibble had just been laid out, are just getting so dang tiresome...
You may consider it a "broad declaration" but, at least for me and the way I watch films, these models are not workable. There's nothing worse than being in the mood for a certain film on a streaming service than to plan and then go to watch it only to find it was removed, usually with little to no warning. At least the TCM service tells you which films are leaving and when, but it still rankles me to know something I'd want to watch I now have to hurry and get to or it may be a very long time, if ever, before it returns. Sure, there are lots of choices, but if what I was wanting to watch is no longer there it's more of a flavor-of-the-week type thing. Good for stumbling across something but not much good for planned viewing. I say this from experience. I've had over 50% of my Amazon Prime watchlist become unavailable. Films I spent time searching for, adding, and slowly moving up in my queue. It makes me less and less inclined to tolerate streaming services.
 
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Cranston37+

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You may consider it a "broad declaration" but, at least for me and the way I watch films, these models are not workable. There's nothing worse than being in the mood for a certain film on a streaming service than to plan and then go to watch it only to find it was removed, usually with little to no warning. At least the TCM service tells you which films are leaving and when, but it still rankles me to know something I'd want to watch I now have to hurry and get to or it may be a very long time, if ever, before it returns. Sure, there are lots of choices, but if what I was wanting to watch is no longer there it's more of a flavor-of-the-week type thing. Good for stumbling across something but not much good for planned viewing. I say this from experience. I've had over 50% of my Amazon Prime watchlist become unavailable. Films I spent time searching for, adding, and slowing moving up in my queue. It makes me less and less inclined to tolerate streaming services.

I don’t disagree with any of that. It doesn’t work for you - that’s understandable. But you have to admit that this thread and the 12,437 leave out the fact that streaming DOES work for many hardcore film fans. I’m just making sure that voice is heard.
 

EricSchulz

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One feature that Hulu offers (that I DO like) is the "expiring" notice. Since titles generally tend to mostly swith over on the first I know that a title in that queue get my "first choice".
 

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