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Netflix penalizing heavy users (1 Viewer)

Doug Schiller

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 16, 1998
Messages
766
It is not too hard to justify really.
If it costs them ~$.70 to mail you the disc one way, if you have the ability (location to dist center) to rent 20+ movie on a 3 out system, they are only getting $6 from you (for 20 rentals).

Not saying it is right, but I'm sure it is factored into who gets sent what.

I'm more concerned about the rumoured games that they play (losing returns to slow the process).

I have been renting since Feb and everything, even new releases gets sent with little or no wait. I can only get about 18 a month tops base on my location.

I'm very happy with the service, I was happy with Blockbuster until they went to Fullscreen only copies.

Doug
 

MarcVH

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
324
Well, since you pay a flat rate per month, it the customers Netflix wants to reward are the ones who don't rent many movies. It's just like a gym, whose best customers are the ones who rarely show up.

What's unfortunate is the fact that they don't modify the algorithm for people who upgrade to premium plans (and thus pay more $$$.) This may discourage some people from upgrading to these plans.
 

Tony Aguila

Stunt Coordinator
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Jun 30, 1997
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110
It's hard to really prove this, one way or the other. I myself am a very heavy user (20-25 titles a month), and it doesn't feel like it's any harder to get "hot" titles any more than other users I know that are nowhere near my level of usage. A few months back, though, it seemed like they were trying to curb my use by adding titles to my "out" list but keeping them in "Shipping" status (read as to-be-shipped), but keeping them that way for 2-3 days at a time. I emailed them about my concerns and they even replied that I shouldn't be complaining because of the number of rentals I do get each month... but that's beside the point. They claim "as many as you like..." To make a long story short, the practice seems to have stopped and titles added to my "out" list usually get shipped the same day.

For what it's worth, sometimes I do get the feeling that they are losing money on users like me. However, if you take into account the number of people I've convinced into joining NetFlix, I think both parties are coming out ahead.
 

Inspector Hammer!

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I don't understand this line of reasoning at all, so the one's who rent only on occasion are considered the best customers!? :confused:

It's like they're penalizing people for merely taking advantage of the service...which is what the customers are supposed to do!

Doesn't sound right to me.
 

Michael St. Clair

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May 3, 1999
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Netflix has said in interviews that if you rent more than 4 or 5 titles a month, they lose money on you. If you watch, then return the next day, you can easily rent 12 titles a month on a 3-disc membership plan.

I can tell you that I had certain DVDs that stayed as 'Very Long Wait' for about 4 months. Then I quit and rejoined under a different email address, and got them within 2 weeks.

GreenCine is better, anyway. They don't have multiple shipping/receiving centers yet, but they have way more cool cult/obscure stuff.

http://www.greencine.com/
 

Steve Felix

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Jan 17, 2001
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Steve Felix
This matches my experience. I just re-signed up today -- I'd quit before when waits were getting longer and was pleased today when I added 19 movies to the queue and all were "now available." Then I come here and read this. Sigh. It obviously makes economic sense for them to do this, but as a good Capitalist I consider only my own self-interest and will be switching to GreenCine at the slightest provocation.
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
With a queue averaging around 150 I've never worried too much about wait statuses. Over the last 12 months I've averaged 15/month (and 2 of those months were very slow rental months because I was spending all my time house-shopping, house-buying, and moving). If I'm in a drastic hurry to see something that Netflix has in a wait status, I'll rent locally or perhaps even purchase.

Whether fair or not, I can certainly understand from Netflix's perspective were they to offer greater availability to slower renters. I'm not going to lose sleep over it...
 

MarcVH

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
324
As a fairly heavy Netflix user, this isn't going to make me quit immediately but it doesn't leave a good taste in my mouth. It does explain why the top 20 movies in my queue all have waits.

I'd have to bet that this isn't just about postal costs. After all, the frequent renters are still getting just as many DVDs, they're just getting less in-demand ones. Some people theorize that the idea is for Netflix to "encourage" people to rent fewer DVDs, but that only works if they tell you what the encouragement is rather than deny it.

It's counterintuitive because it's backwards from the way that a conventional video store works. Normally the high-demand titles may only be rented for shorter periods of time, so they'll be returned and rented again. In this case, the high-demand titles are given to the people most likely to keep them checked out a long time.

Clearly the revenue sharing that Netflix does must figure into this. They must share revenue on a per-rental, rather than a per-day-checked-out, basis. That encouages them to limit the number of times new releases are rented and steer customers toward older films, just as movie theaters make more money on films that have been out a few weeks.

What would be interesting (but harder to determine experimentally) is whether there are also variations between customers in other types of service, e.g. how quickly your old DVDs are acknowledged as returned, how quickly your new DVDs are shipped, and from which service center.
 

Michael St. Clair

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With a queue averaging around 150 I've never worried too much about wait statuses.
If you watched movies in your queue go backwards, from short wait, to long wait, to very long wait, then stay there for months on end, you might feel differently.

Then, if you quit and rejoined, and those same titles were suddenly instantaneously, 'available now', you definitely might feel differently.

This has happened to me.

Netflix has made it clear that they have contempt for me as a customer. I'm not masochistic enough to stick around for that ridiculous crap.
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
If you watched movies in your queue go backwards, from short wait, to long wait, to very long wait, then stay there for months on end, you might feel differently.
I have, and I don't.

If I absolutely can't wait to see those titles, I'll get them through other avenues. As long as I've got a steady flow of DVD's and there aren't any better alternatives, I'll stick with Netflix.

I'm keeping an eye on Greencine. They look like they'll be a viable alternative someday. But as long as their only shipping center is in CA, it would be a large step backward.
 

Dave Gorman

Supporting Actor
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Jul 22, 1999
Messages
538
Interestingly, I was just adding a couple movies to my queue and looked at wait statuses while I was there.

My 3-month rental history has 49 DVD's -- not the heaviest renter, perhaps, but likely above average.

133 DVD's in my queue, 13 with a wait status. Doesn't seem too bad to me... I've certainly seen a lot worse ratio than that in the past.
 

PS Nystrom

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 27, 1999
Messages
444
Very interesting. Personally I get more frustrated with Netflix having Long Wait status for old/obscure/arty titles not available at Blockbuster than with actual blockbusters being unavailable. Can't get Sweet Home Alabama through Netflix? Big deal, you can rent it at BB. Can't get Koyaanisqatsi through Netflix - damn - cause there's no way BB is gonna have it in stock.

My current beef with Netflix is the practice of checking in and shipping out titles in a timely manner. Turnaround is getting noticeably slower and frustrating. DVDs used to get checked in and a new one sent out on the same day. That hasn't happened yet this month. And nothing at the top of my queue is in any sort of Wait status.

Yet Netflix is still a great deal. Feb through Apr saw me averaging 15-20 movies per month so my per rental price is way under $2. Take travel and convenience into consideration I am making a killing off of them. So I'll just be quiet now and hope things get better.

Pieter
 

DaveGTP

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Jul 24, 2002
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My last post was lost in the database problems....
Can't get Sweet Home Alabama through Netflix? Big deal, you can rent it at BB. Can't get Koyaanisqatsi through Netflix - damn - cause there's no way BB is gonna have it in stock.
My attitude exactly for online rental. That's why I am a greencine renter. If I want a weirder title (or an entire 8-disc series of a less-popular anime), greencine is guaranteed to have it. It may take me a little longer to get it, but they are guaranteed to have it. If not, email them, and they are 99% likely to add it to their stock for you. If I want a blockbuster, that's what Hollywood video is for, rentals are $3 a disc for 5 days.

And the customer service is outstanding. If you accidently send them one of your personal discs (like my fiancee just did - Anime series with no # on the discs are easy to confuse) they will hunt down your disc and mail it back to you, no problems. Netflix's official standpoint on mistakenly-returned discs is basically "tough luck, sorry..". The director/man-in-charge (Dennis Woo) personally posts on the message boards and answers emails to assist customers.

If you like indies, anime, foreign films, documentaries, classic films, Criterion discs, OOP titles, etc (anything non-mainstream or hard to find), then you do not know what you are missing with greencine. The shipping times to and from California to Michigan are a lot worse than Netflix's jump from Lansing, but the less sheer volume of discs I rent is more than made up for by the "Eclection" as Greencine calls it.

I avoid about 70% of mainstream movies like the plague, so, this is perfect for me. If you are interested in sheer volume of typical video store fare, greencine is not the service for you. Some of the wait times may frustrate you, and they aren't big enough to have a bazillion copies of XXX or Fast and the Furious for example.

If you like any of the aforementioned non-typical categories, you should jump straight to greencine without hesitation. They have a 2-week free trial.
 

Dave Scarpa

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Apr 8, 1999
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David Scarpa
Well this makes sense I just rejoined and asked for a copy of MAY its a new release , maybe not a popular one, but I was surprised I got it. So this seems to be what they are doing. oh well use them mainly for catalog titles, I get my new releases at the B&M Stores
 

James Edward

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 1, 2000
Messages
855


Exactly! I went over my rental history for the past 8 months, and I was receiving more movies on the 3 DVD plan than my current 5 plan. All due to them not being checked in and out more quickly.
 

Brent Bridgeman

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 12, 1999
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420
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Atlanta, GA
Real Name
Brent Bridgeman
I don't see these problems at all. Having a distribution center about 20 miles from my house helps, but I get a 3 day turnaround (ship back day 1, they check in and ship day 2, and I receive on day 3), and have only 1 or 2 movies in my queue that are "Long Wait" (have about 150 movies on the queue). In fact, I shipped "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" back yesterday and they are shipping "The Two Towers" today, the street date. I've been a member for about 3 years and have seen none of these problems, especially after they opened up the distribution center down here. I wonder is some centers are more efficient than others?
 

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