Capitalism can be awesome:
Like, for instance, when you are paying an appropriate price for a good service and then suddenly someone ups the price by 60%. And then 2 million people stop paying for it all together, thus prompting an apology from the owner of the company. This is fundamentally how it should work. People vote on a service with their money, and theoretically, the service either thrives or fails based on price vs. quality in a competitive market. I’m simplifying here, but bear with me.
This is why its not awesome:
Reed Hastings wrote an apology to all of his customers in regards to the Facebook posts, Twitter backlash, and general internet whining over the increase. Also, pretty cool. Social media gives companies an immediate response to changes in policy, new products, etc etc. However, Hastings apology was more of a “deal with it” than an actual “I’m sorry, let’s talk about this rate increase with our inside voices and see if we can compromise.” Instead, what he said was “I’m making it more complicated. Also, Streaming video is vastly behind our physical DVD library, and we know this, but you’re still going to pay for it while we make it better.”
This is not how it works:
I don’t pay you more money so you can make a mediocre product better. If I buy toothpaste and it tastes like onions and doesn’t get my teeth clean, I’m probably not going to keep buying it until they can figure out the onion thing. In fact, I will probably mention to my friends, casually, about the stupid onion toothpaste and they aren’t going to buy it either. Then, onion toothpaste goes out of business, or, they wake up and realize that mint is way better than onions. They don’t tell me they are sorry and they know that onion toothpaste is lame, but if I pay more for it next time, sometime, later, at an undisclosed date, the toothpaste will be better.
Netflix undoubtedly deserves a price hike. The mail service is really one of the better inventions to come out of the internet. So good, that it has all but destroyed the brick and mortar DVD store. (Capitalism.) However, just as Netflix costs have risen, SO HAVE EVERYONE ELSE’S! Yes, your overhead has gone up, but so has ours. In fact, we all stay at home now and watch Netflix because we can’t afford the movies.
RedBox is the only real competitor and they have a pretty good thing as well. Its a machine that provides movies as an impulse purchase. This is genius! (Capitalism.) You’re not really making an extra trip because you were already at Walgreens, Target, wherever. Hastings doesn’t think he has any competition, (and he didn’t for a while) but now he needs to check his rearview, if only periodically.
Netflix streaming is pretty beta right now. Yes, every episode of 30 Rock is great. But there are only 4 watchable movies on the whole instant queue, however, and I’ve seen them all. Tarantula Island and Donkey Punch (not kidding about the last one) are just not worth the extra money. In fact, it borders on insulting. Lastly, American internet is totally lame. Ranked 25th in the world. IN THE WORLD! Are you freaking kidding me? This is why Tina Fey’s face looks like it was made on a Nintendo for the first 5 minutes of 30 Rock.
I think we may be at the end of this drama which is kind of a bummer, because I’m really pretty transfixed at the way its played out. I’m hoping Hastings will send me another heartfelt email lowering the price of his streaming service, thus, matching the quality of said service, but we shall see. Until then…
WE NOW LIVE IN LOS ANGELES!
(more on that later)