Trust me, it’s not an easy question to answer.
I’ve been a member since 2006. I had the 3 DVD at a time plan, this was shortly before movies were available to stream through their site. I know, can you imagine? I waited for movies to be mailed to my house. If you did it right you could usually get 6 a week, sometimes 9. I wouldn’t even watch them at first. I would just burn them on a blank DVD and stuff them back in the mail. I now have hundreds of obsolete discs laying around my house.
I grew up in a video store family. We constantly watched movies as kids, I mean we literally had access to anything. New movies when I wanted them, access to classics whenever I was in the mood for something…A Van Damme Good night anyone?
That was Netflix before Netflix at the time. Maybe that is why I gravitated towards it. I, like most, downloaded things. Illegal or not, doesn’t matter. You all know what LimeWire was. But after 10 years I thought it was time to maybe re-evaluate my relationship with Netflix and here are 5 reasons why.
5. Differing Memberships/Price Changes
Long story short I lost my debit card in August, along with my license. I just replaced it last week. This meant updating all my information for my accounts, including Netflix.
It’s what inspired this article, actually. For a long time the service has been $9.99, a fair and reasonable rate. A price that I had just always assumed would be “grandfathered” to me or something. I had no reason to think this but if you recall in 2011 a Netflix price hike horribly backfired on them. So for $10 plus this guide on How To Watch (Kinda) Free TV in Utica cutting that cord has been worth it.
So I update my info and wouldn’t you know the first screen I see after confirming the update:
Obviously this is annoying, but why?
Mainly because I never read the user agreement or hardly follow any updates to terms and conditions. It’s right there, though, in a few different sections.
- We reserve the right to modify, terminate or otherwise amend our offered membership plans.
- We reserve the right to adjust pricing for our service or any components thereof in any manner and at any time as we may determine in our sole and absolute discretion.
Doesn’t change the fact that I am now considering if that extra $1 a month (or $12 a year) is worth it. Yes, it’s just a dollar but in America Netflix now has more subscribers than cable. They have 104 million subscribers worldwide. A simple $1 increase is a an extra $104 million PER MONTH, now multiply that by 12.
Take it past the small price increase and to principal. When does it become $10.99 then $12.99 then $15.99 and so on. When are you going to be paying an extra $5 to see Stranger Things a week early?
Am I being dramatic? Maybe. But I’ve agreed to terms for something that can just raise the price of the service, change the service or cancel the service anytime they feel like it.
Which leads me to…
4. Rising Debt + Sex Scandals + Net Neutrality = ?
What exactly am I paying for now? Content.
Those costs are sky rocketing for Netflix. In fact they just took an extra $1.6 Billion in debt on their existing $20 Billion. The idea is to become less reliant on outside producers and studios (Weinstein) for movies and shows (House of Cards) in the years to come.
If you read the articles I’ve linked you’ll see that most forecast this as a positive thing for Netflix. Their subscription growth is up 25% over the last year and has quadrupled in 5 years. Most project that to continue with the increased focus on international content (which I’ll get to) and more must see originals like Stranger Things. I also just outlined how they are making crazy money on just subscription increases so there is a backup to cover this debt already in place, sorta.
All these projections rely on previous trends and possible projections. Like everything that is risky. Remember when having a dish on your house was this new big thing? Point is trends pass, competition increases but more importantly their are the unpredictable factors.
Like Louis C.K. – Netflix has pulled his upcoming stand up special. Sure they can make that loss up somewhere but if they are paying $40 million for two Chris Rock specials and $100 million for Jerry Seinfeld, how much was paid into Louis C.K. projects?
Then there is Kevin Spacey. Possibly the poster boy for Netflix, well until Eleven. Don’t forget how big of a deal House of Cards was for that quadrupled subscriber increase over 5 years, here is a 2014 Business Insider article, Kevin Spacey: Netflix Made A LOT Of Money On ‘House Of Cards’.
And it made him a lot of money as well, Spacey stands to lose $6.5 Million on House of Cards alone.
I’m not saying people will boycott Netflix over this. What I am saying is they will lose a lot of money because of it. Lets be honest, without Frank Underwood House of Cards isn’t a $100 Million franchise it was projected to be when Netflix took on their debts.
You also hope they considered Net Neutrality, I’m sure they have. If the internet model changes will Netflix continue it’s rapid growth? Natural competition on the market is already rising, if Netflix doesn’t deliver on new original content and our new throttled internet forces people to be more selective of their content what becomes of this massive debt?
3. Rating System is a Thumbs Down
Enough with the financial stuff, for now. The rating system is trash. Here are some key points:
- Inability to tell the difference if rating is on popularity or based on merit.
- No difference between ‘I guess I didn’t hate it’ and ‘This is the greatest I’ve ever seen’.
- Star-rating system was a way to remove content never going to have interest in.
“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie ten times more frequently?” – Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product.
I felt like this was directed right at me. As a matter of fact, Todd, I’m a huge doc fan and like everyone else in the world hate Adam Sandlers work post Big Daddy. And it’s funny he mentioned Adam Sandler, who now has twice signed 4 picture deals with Netflix.
That aside, I was very proud of my review list. I’ve literally rated thousands of titles dating back to 2007.
Including 2 different strange runs of heavy ESPN 30 for 30 reviews in March 2013 and August 2012.
After 10 years of dedicated rating I’m now just a shell of my former reviewing self…
2. The Content is Meh…
Maybe it’s because I haven’t been as dedicated to rating stuff but I honestly feel like if I connect the dots I’m just being served more and more Netflix endorsed content instead of actual content I have shown interest in through 10 years of reviews. And that makes sense, I already outlined how Netflix is taking on debt to develop new programming. A direct way to get away from studios and paying them so it makes sense they would push all of their stuff at me first.
I watch a lot of TV shows and documentaries and I’m very picky about what I watch. I’ve been supportive of Netflix developing new(ish) content, I’m a huge Arrested Development fan but I thought Ozark was like a B-. That is kind of the point. For every hit there is going to be misses. I think the new rating system was designed to hide that so Netflix shows wouldn’t show negative results but whatever. I’m really stuck on the rating system.
I’m also the product of 10 years a customer. I know too much about Netflix but just feel it no longer knows enough about me. That is what makes this inevitable breakup so hard. I’ve seen everything Netflix has to offer, at least what I’ve wanted to watch. I waste more time trying to find something new to watch instead of just watching something.
It might just also be time to move on because…
1. There are other options.
Netflix set the trend. They undoubtedly changed the way we consume media. The government is trying to change the internet because of a trend they set.
You now have the option of HBO, Sling, Hulu, Amazon etc…To stay in the game cable gives you online streaming services with a valid account login meaning you get ESPN, History, TBS – I don’t know whatever you like. Additionally AT&T bought DirecTV which provides a new type of option, cell and entertainment combined. There is just a lot out there and you now have choices that are competitive.
I’m a big fan of HBO Now, it offers a 30 day trial then goes to $14.99 a month, more money versus Netflix but I think HBO has the best content library.
Amazon offers a content library with a Prime account, which is also appealing for the one year price. You can also try this for free but honestly most of the services offer a month. I haven’t been a huge fan of their library. The selection of docs keep me entertained enough but the series fall flat for me. They’ve already cancelled over 10 shows, if you need more evidence. Side note, I kinda actually liked Mad Dogs but at the same time not surprised it was cancelled. That’s the way Amazon is for me.
I don’t mess with Hulu but maybe it’s time to give it a shot, they offer live TV now if that’s your thing.
So maybe at the end of the day a break from Netflix is only temporary.
We can take some time apart so when we finally connect again, and they charge me whatever monthly rate at that point in time, I can actually enjoy it. Maybe I’ll just steal, or borrow, someones account to keep watching – I’ve done the same for others. Oh shit, I forgot about all the people leeching off my account, I hope they read this article!