(A note to my long-time readers, I’m planning on expanding this blog to include opinions about current technology trends and news beyond my usual fare of standards, open web, and engineering posts.)
This morning I logged into my Netflix account and changed my plan from 3 DVDs + Streaming to DVDs Only. Despite the excellent analysis by many about Netflix’s reasons for the recent changes, the fact is that today the company is making $95.88 less annually from me than they did the day before. That’s a lot of money to lose from a single, loyal customer.
I love the unlimited streaming service, but given its current selection of movies, I use it mostly to catch up with TV shows I missed or skipped. We do this mostly during the summer TV hiatus. In other words, the current streaming catalog is great when there is nothing else to watch and you are willing to compromise with lesser, somewhat stale, content.
I’m probably going to get a streaming service back in June when the 2012 season is over. But at that point I will no longer default to Netflix because I have no incentive to do so. It doesn’t save me money or add any nice features to my core DVD-by-mail service (today, I can see what in my queue is available on-demand and consume it that way). I will definitely consider Netflix as an option, but if my cable provider, Apple TV, or XBOX, offer me an easier alternative with the right content, I’m probably going to take the lazy way out.
Strategically, this was the right move. Tactically, it’s a big risk to take given the blow it can serve to their momentum. Everything communicated by the company makes perfect sense to me. The problem is that by pushing the issue now, they have forced me to think about their separate services when their weaker offering is the one they are betting their future on.