Discussions & Ideas: Late April - September 2016 Archive


Hypothetical Pennies Offered

Welcome to the Discussions & Ideas page. This is an open forum for discussing anything about Netflix, or anything about this blog. Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, share information, offer opinions, even rant if something is bugging you.


The body of this page will be used to keep everyone updated when there is blog news, and to ask for feedback about improvements/changes/additions, etc. Of course, your participation is always optional and voluntary.

New Page/New URL
This is the new April - May Discussions & Ideas page. It has a different url than the previous D&I page, which is now archived, so if you have that one bookmarked, please replace it with this one. (This will happen every month or two [or three]; it is the only way I could think of to introduce a new Discussions page when Comments begin to build up.) The D&I page tab beneath the blog title is updated, so it will always take you to the current Discussions page.

News and Request for Feedback
You already know that titles on the Home page are now linked to the Netflix info pages. I'd like to reiterate my thanks to Larry G. (since the note on the Home page will be taken down after a week). Not only did Larry create Excel tools that made having links a viable option, he's been patient and supportive while I got up to speed with them. We are all in his debt.

You have also most likely noticed that I reorganized the sidebar a bit, hopefully to make all pages optimally easy to find.

A recent addition to the sidebar is a new open discussion in anticipation of the Netflix subscription price increase, with some good information about how that's going to happen (see the newest comments), and other interesting general info about what's going on at Netflix. 

I experimented with a What's New on the Blog page, but people didn't seem to need it, so I've retired it. I know from the page-view count Blogger provides that a lot of you regularly check pages to see if there's something new, especially the Discussion page and the We Recommend page. And I believe some of you subscribe to a feed that lets you know when there are new comments. Let me know if finding what's new on the blog could be easier, and feel free to make suggestions.

Disappearing Comments
The current way this blog is set up for making comments is called "embedded" comments, meaning the comment box is part of the page. Apparently, that can create problems when someone who is commenting has one or more filters for third party cookies on their computer/in their browser. I don't feel comfortable asking everyone to enable (stop filtering) third party cookies, which seems to be the preferred solution.

The other solution is to change the way comments are made. Instead of the comment box being part of the page, you would click on a link that would open a Comment page, where the comment box would be. You could still see all the posted comments on the actual page, and also on the Comments page. You could still post as Anonymous, or any of the other ways offered now. You would just be typing your comment and publishing it on the Comments page.

How do you all feel about changing Comments to a full page system? I'd especially like to hear from anyone who would be unhappy about such a change. We could change back if it didn't work well (but then we'd have to deal with the cookies issue or have disappearing comments).

If you're not familiar with full page Comments, here is a sample blog I threw together to show you what they look like: What full page comments look like

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Please note that earlier, ongoing discussions can be accessed at the top of the sidebar, and previous months' Discussions & Ideas pages are also in the sidebar, under Other Archives.
                                                                                                                                                                             
My goal: A blog that looks polished and feels complete, and that offers helpful content for all, without detracting from the sacred mission of giving followers as much lead time as possible to watch expiring titles.

Thanks to the many contributors who share their time, knowledge and expertise to keep the blog interesting, informative, and fresh in a variety of ways. It is truly a collaborative effort, and I'm honored to be part of it.

47 comments:

  1. I'm OK with the full page commenting system. It also seems like the most low-tech option. Not everyone is a techie so I feel like the full comment page would be a good all-around solution. Just my two cents. Also, I've always had to do the robot test.

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  2. Thanks, Apple. I've always had to check "prove you're not a robot," but there was no pick the right pictures test. Even when I was signed out of blogger, and made test comments as a newcomer to make sure everything worked right. I'll look into it to see if anything can be done.

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  3. Everyone: I just realized that full page comments would mean we wouldn't have a Reply option. I know some of you would not be happy about that. Please feel free to weigh in.

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  4. I don't think the reply problem is a preference thing. I think it could make your comments section harder to read because you might not understand what someone is talking about. You would probably have to ask your users to apply a standard of saying replying to so and so about topic.

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  5. I saw this article/new column on Rotten Tomatoes, and thought some of you might find it helpful. I'm one of those who is pretty much in the dark about all the apps/devices that are out there to make streaming better, so it was helpful to me.

    http://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/four-things-to-know-before-choosing-a-streaming-setup/

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  6. The new links to Netflix option didn't work well for me at first because the Netflix page was dead, i.e., no way to add the title to MyList, and if I switched to the Netflix app, it would crash when I pushed the "add to MyList" button. But this morning when I clicked on a title from Carol's home page, there was an add button. And it worked! Congrats to Carol and LarryG for great work!. And to Netflix for getting something on its website to work .

    As to the reply option, it's only really necessary on a long discussion page where several topics are in live discussion at the same time. It's not needed when a topic is pulled off to a separate page (price change, Disney, etc.), nor is it it needed on a page like We Recommend where, although someone might want to comment on another person's post, an energetic webmaster, on top of her game, regularly grabs these comments and groups them at the top of the page.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, CanandaiguaNY. I really appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad to hear the "add" button is working for you again.

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  7. Meg said -- I've never had the problem people were discussing re posting. And, it seemed as if they issue had come up recently. Don't know if that was due to new people finding the blog. BTW, I've always have the robot test; not a biggie to me. I sort of like it the original way. And, I think if you look at the number of replies that do occur, on the expiration listing page, it is easier to follow when the reply is under the original post.

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    1. Meg says -- Oops, and forgot to say thanks for the "links". Very helpful.

      Delete
    2. Glad you like the links - now you know what I meant when I said your timing was good (on the previous Discussions page) ;-)

      Thanks for your feedback about comments. You make good points.

      Delete
  8. There's a nice mention of us on the Reddit Netflix board, with a link to the May 31 Movie page. Page views are going up, up, up. You can check it out at:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/netflix/comments/4kbb2a/nearly_400_movies_expiring_on_61_us/

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  9. I found this site two months ago. It is amazingly helpful. Several thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Iago Boom. Glad you found us in time for the May mass exit. Thanks for writing.

      Delete
  10. Following is a comment from NF USA: Expiring, which I moved here from the Home page.

    NF USA: Expiring May 25, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Curious if anyone else uses the Google Chrome Extension, FlixPlus by lifehacker. I've enabled features like trailers, Imdb/Rotten Tomato ratings, a listing at the top of all expiring movies, etc.

    The FlixPlus links to RT sometime go directly to the movie page, and other times gives you a search results page. My working theory is that if the movie title is unique, it goes directly, e.g. The Pallbearer. On the other hand, Nanking, which is picked up in multiple titles, goes to a search results page? Curious if anyone has any ideas why...

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    1. A Netflix search works the same way, at least on some devices. A search that pulls up multiple titles goes to a list, but directly to the title site if there's only one item.

      Delete
  11. Following is a comment and reply from will g / Travis, which I moved here from the Home page.

    will g May 25, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    I thought the shit would have hit the fan on the internet today, but Google says no. Nothing in the Reddit forum yet. All I could find is the comment thread here:

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/05/23/heres-whats-leaving-netflix-in-june-2016

    One commenter says the Mirimax library is now going to Hulu. Don't know if it's true.

    Replies:

    Travis May 25, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    i'm not surprised. it's become increasingly clear that what i want out of netflix is not at all what the average and target customer wants. that's probably why netflix thought little of letting this contract lapse.

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    1. There were two Reddit posts several days ago, both of which generated a healthy number of comments (mostly talking about favorites among the leaving titles, and some "how could they?" remarks). See my May 21 comment, above, with the url to the Reddit Netflix post. The other post was on the Reddit page for RuPaul's Drag Race:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/rupaulsdragrace/?count=300&after=t3_4klu1o

      Both posts linked to our May 31 page, and generated more than 2000 page views between them.

      The Netflix press release is fairly well publicized, but, as we know, that didn't give any indication of what's really about to happen. "Oh, darn, Click is going away."

      I kinda doubt the average, "target," NF subscriber thinks too much about what's going to expire, or seeks out that info. I'll bet most of them don't have the kinds of extensive My Lists we do - if they have any at all. So maybe they'll see a couple of "Available until" notices, and think, "oh, well." Netflix's web of secrecy is working to give them the bliss of ignorance, and keep a lid on the indignant calls to Customer Service, and rants on the Internet.

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    2. I'm so sorry I hadn't checked this page and seen your May 21 comment about Reddit before mouthing off saying there was nothing there. And it is indeed great exposure for this blog to be linked there, congrats!

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    3. BTW why doesn't Google show those Reddit threads? That's how I found that other thread, right near the top of the results.

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    4. Because it sucks. Really old links from last decade and paid shill sites saying they love originals. Also don't forget the repeated links same content word for word on a different link.

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  12. As I read the Netflix press release, their intention as of now (things change) is to stream 1. Originals and 2. Titles to which they have worldwide rights.

    1. Netflix has started producing nonEnglish originals. Marsailles is now streaming--to poor reviews (the Economist recommends watching Spiral, a nonoriginal series Netflix is streaming, instead. And Netflix has announcend production of an original series in Argentina.

    2. I think Netflix is likely to get worldwide rights only to titles in the public domain, minor stuff that no one else cares much to bid for, work done in the less common languages, and short-term (one to three months, say) leases.

    3. Netflix also has the Disney deal, whatever that is. It certainly does not mean that they'll be streaming all Disney titles all the time.

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  13. Sorry, Marseille, a French language series with Gerard Depardieu.

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  14. I am extremely upset that the series Medium has been canceled. I was right in the middle of watching season 4, and now it's gone. Is there anything I can do to register my dismay? Will my comments here help at all?

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    1. Hi Unknown, I doubt Netflix is monitoring our website, so it's unlikely they will see your comment here. However, your comment prompted me to call Netflix Customer Service, and I told them (politely) how unhappy I was that Medium had been taken off. They assured me they would pass my feedback along. Not a guarantee they'll get it back, of course, but it's worth a try.

      The more people that make the same request, the better, so ask anyone you know who has a Netflix account to do the same. If anyone reading this is so inclined, your support would be appreciated. There's a Help Center link at the bottom of every Netflix page, and Contact info at the bottom of the Help Center page.

      If you prefer, you can also contact Netflix via Facebook and Twitter. If you're more of a letter-writer, you can send snail mail to their headquarters. On the Help Center page, type "Netflix corporate contact information" into the search box. The address for the US is at the bottom of the Corporate Contact Info page. Good luck, Unknown - I'm rooting for you, and for Medium.

      Delete
  15. Et tu Primé? Going the way of Netflix, today my Prime watchlist no longer shows an expiration date below the video tile. It's still visible if you hover over it, but hovering through close to 50 pages of videos is inconvenient. It used to be as easy as a Ctrl-F search. Has anybody located this alleged popular movement to be kept in the dark over expiration dates? If you do, we must infiltrate and destroy.
    -popcorn shoes

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    1. meet you at the shareholder meetings!

      Delete
  16. Important Message for Amazon Prime Subscribers

    This message doesn't have anything to do with Netflix, so feel free to skip it if you're not also an Amazon Prime user, and sorry for including it here, but there's a bit of a crisis at the Prime website also followed by a number of our long-time readers.

    Larry G has written some helpful instructions for discerning the correct last day at month-end. They are VERY time-sensitive (as in, must do today). I made a page for him, so feel free to leave comments there. I'll make sure he can respond to them if he continues to experience commenting problems. Here's the link to his page:

    For Amazon Prime Subscribers

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  17. Earlier today, Linklisa left the following comment about comments on the Home page:

    Linklisa September 25, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    Glad to see someone use a separate page. We've had a lot of discussion threads on this month's page, and I hope with next month's page we can get back to having the comments on the main page focus on the titles themselves, which makes it much easier to scroll down for updates). I notice that the "Discussions & Ideas" page linked in the top bar has a date of several months back, so maybe we need a new page for the kinds of threads we've had here lately. Thanks to all who contribute.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this timely reminder, Linklisa. I'm sorry to say I have been guilty of the problem you point out, even as I realized I was doing it.

      Next Saturday, October 1, I will be putting up the new October post. I will also put up a fresh Discussions page, where we can elaborate on expiration problems, and all other subjects, including those related to other streaming services. Please leave any comments you might have about this here (the current Discussions page).

      All ideas about how to make this blog more useful, more enjoyable, or better in any way are always most welcome.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Linklisa about discussions on topics that veer away from expirations. But I do think it's appropriate to discuss anything pertaining to the expiring titles on that page, even if it might make finding the titles themselves a bit more difficult. Now if Carol wants to start a new policy of only the titles themselves being allowed to be posted on that page, it's up to her of course.

      Delete
    3. In theory, I agree that anything having to do with expiring titles is appropriate for main-page comments, will g. But in practice, multiple replies can take a lot of space and make it hard for those who are only wanting to find the latest titles. Scrolling down the September Home page, I see a lot of discussion related to expiring titles. I have deleted all lists of titles that have been up for at least four days, but time was when these were interspersed among the discussions, making them harder to find, especially if there were only 1 or 2 titles in the comment.

      I'd like to find a good solution to this paradox. I don't want to become the "Comment Gestapo," or constantly be moving comments to another page. I think often, when someone leaves a comment related to an expiring title, they can't anticipate how many, if any, comments might follow, so I can't blame them for putting their comment on the main page. Also, I want to take into consideration the extra effort required to go to a different page to make or read comments.

      If anyone has any thoughts, opinions, or ideas about this, please share them. I will put my brain to work, also (God help us). Initial possibilities:

      1) Would it help to have a "titles only" policy for the main page, and a separate, easily-accessed page specifically for follow-up comments?

      2) How about if we had the first comment for every month be ~ "New Expiring Titles," and everyone would submit their lists as Replies for the rest of the month - no other replies or content allowed. Anyone wanting to reply or add info could put that in a new Comment, and follow-ups to that could go in replies to that comment. Just brainstorming here.

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    4. Carol, I do love how your brain works. It's great that you're inviting input on a solution. Thank you. And I think the community of contributors can help out by modeling whatever you decide makes sense to try.

      I wouldn't want a policy as strict as absolutely nothing but titles. After all, friendly comments are a lot of what makes this blog feel like a community. I do think it helps to have gentle reminders to take discussions to another page. What you've done with my comment here is a good indication that moving something to a different page also gives a discussion its own room to breathe.

      For my own part, I enjoy having multiple pages to check on the blog, and I think you've done a great job of alerting people to the "We Recommend/Or Not" page, which has a clear function of its own. There are several other pages like that, which might go in spurts more than steadily.

      I think I would encourage following up on topics on a different page as soon as it gets into "reading Netflix's mind" territory: why would they do whatever is frustrating this week, what any of us have heard from customer service, information about deals with specific distributors. This is great stuff that many of us might want to read about or have someplace to vent about, and tends to be what takes a while to scroll through. Having it on its own page would also help to track these kinds of discussions over time if anyone cares to. The renewals are often cyclical, some problems look like weird anomalies, and others are ongoing "downgrades" in what Netflix offers to customers. (Likewise, I think recommendations or comments related to other streaming services belong elsewhere.)

      Part of where it got blurry this month was announcements of which titles Netflix had disappeared without warning. On the one hand, that does pertain to specific titles. On the other hand, they have already expired, and we don't have the option to add them to our queues. When something like that becomes a pattern to discuss, I start to see it as falling more into "reading Netflix's mind".

      It took me a while to get what you were suggesting in #2 above, but now I see that you mean restricting comments just for the very first thread on the page. This could be a brilliant situation if it worked, but I imagine in practice it would end up taking more monitoring than nudging the discussions to other pages. The landing page is friendlier if it doesn't have too much of a learning curve for newbies, and I think the regulars could learn (and help to encourage a culture for the blog) to take discussions to a different page.

      Thanks again for opening up this discussion, and to everyone who takes part in it.

      Delete
    5. Great feedback - thanks Linklisa!

      Delete
    6. I'm not sure whether to be glad or sorry that I started this discussion with my post to the sidebar New Format for MyList page. But, since suggestions were asked for, I offer:
      I agree with LinkLisa that the Expirations comments page gets too cluttered toward the end of the month with extraneous topics; that is why I posted to another page. But it is also true that most people only look at the Expirations page, so they will miss topics posted elsewhere that they might wish to see. The problem is not with these non-expiration comments, however, but with the multiple replies.
      So, let all comments be posted to the Expirations page but, once multiple replies start, Carol can move (I hate to add more work for Carol, but she asked for ideas and she is absolutely free to ignore mine) to the Discussion & Ideas page, leaving behind a one-line note in the Expirations comments that a discussion of xxxx has been moved to D&I. If a topic becomes too long there, it can be moved from D&I to a separate page on the sidebar. Should the D&I page become too cluttered, old discussion topics, no longer actively discussed, can be either deleted or moved to an archive page.
      This would work on my iPad, but Nica pointed out (her comment came to my inbox but I don't see where it got posted) that she'd have a probtlem with her phone since she can't easily get to the D&I button on the Expirations comments page toolbar. A possible way around this would be for Carol (more work again; terribly sorry) to put, at the top of the Expirations page, near the color-coding explanation, a note: "On-going discussions posted elsewhere: xxxx" with a link to the D&I page, similar to the link to the Reviews page which is put next to some expiring titles.
      Anyway, I greatly appreciate all of Carol's work (I think she should take more than one day a century off) and all of the contributors' comments and ideas.

      Delete
    7. Here is Nica's comment that CanandaiguaNY referred to. It was posted to this page, but was a Blogger casualty.

      Nica has left a new comment on your post "Discussions & Ideas" on September 26 at 4:51 AM:

      I have to disagree with Lisa. Most of how I check this blog is on my phone, and changing between pages on that can be a bit of a pain, particularly if the discussion post is on the sidebar instead of the discussions page. The sidebar pages do not show up on mobile view, which means I have to change how the page is being viewed and click through there. When the pages are no longer active (as most are at this point), I do not even think to check them every day. Also, even though there is a drop-down to flip between the main pages (home, FAQ, discussions, reviews, submit guidelines, about us), it doesn't always work. I don't know if it's just my internet connection, phone, or something else, but that can also make it tedious to go to the discussions page. This discussion page is very infrequently used, and so I don't even think to check it unless it is specifically pointed out on the main post that someone has commented here.

      Further, I cannot see archived discussion posts. Any links that may be placed on this page will be gone as soon as you post a new discussion post. Let's say someone puts up a link in the discussion comments but a few days later, a new post goes up. That comment with that link is basically gone forever. At least if it is on the expiration post, I can go through the archive and find the link.

      I don't find it that hard to scroll, to be honest, on either the phone or computer. I think Carol does a very good job of updating the blog and color-coding that if I really wanted just the titles, I can scroll through just the main part of the post and ignore comments altogether. I usually do most of my posting from the computer because I've only been able to successfully post from my phone once. Again, not sure if it's an internet connection thing, being on my phone, or a Blogger-eating-comments thing. We've had quite a few new people join us. If they are looking at the blog through a mobile device, they may not even be aware there are other pages, especially a dedicated discussion page. And if most people are like me and usually just check the main post, the easiest way to get an answer to a question is by posting it on the main expiration post.

      Finally, the past few months have presented their own unique challenges. This month seemed to have an uptick in the number of movies expiring without notice, which is naturally going to upset people. I happened to recognize a pattern with SyFy shows that I felt would be helpful to others, particularly now that Netflix has taken expiration dates off the DVD portion of the site. We had a large number of shows be renewed, and a lot of PBS shows expiring. This blog has become not just a resource for expiring titles but alternate places to watch as well, especially as more of us (myself included) begin to question if we really want to continue on with Netflix during some of the more frustrating and upsetting months.

      Delete
    8. These are all really helpful comments, everybody. Nica, I especially appreciate being reminded that some of us use various other devices to access the blog, and they don't all offer the same experience. I borrowed a friend's iphone so I could see what the blog looks like on it, and yes, going to different pages is considerably more challenging.

      You've all given me lots to think about, and if others want to weigh in, please feel free to do so. The more info we have to work with, the more likely we'll come to the best solution.

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    9. Oops. I just saw on the sidebar where the archived discussion pages are. Sorry, when using the computer, I don't normally pay attention to anything on that side, except for when the Ongoing Discussions are in use.

      Delete
    10. Following what Nica just pointed out, and revising my earlier remarks, maybe the Ongoing Discussions box on the sidebar could be put below the Decoder section at the top of the Expirations page (thus, easier to find on phones). Discussions no longer ongoing could be archived. And there will be no need for a Discussion &Ideas page or tab.

      Delete

  18. If you're interested in the history and future of Netflix content, there is an interesting, meaty article on salon.com, at:

    http://www.salon.com/2016/09/24/what-happened-to-netflix-the-film-buffs-dream-library-is-adam-sandlers-house-now/

    Courtesy of Wellesley72 - thanks!

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    1. This article states that Netflix intends a 50/50 split between original content and purchased content. I recently saw another article, I think maybe Bloomberg but I no longer have the link, that stated that Hastings is aiming for a 50/50 tv series/film split. Not the same thing.

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  19. And I saw an article talking about a 50-50 split between new licensed content and new "originals" (without any mention of tv series/film). Netflix doesn't always say what it means or mean what it says. If they want to keep the same number of titles with a 50-50 split between licensed content and originals, they are only about 20 to 25% of the way there now, and they have commitments to a lot of continuing licensed content, like the CW deal and deals for ABC, CBS, NBC and even Fox content. By my reckoning it would be at least 2020 and several $1 price increases before they get to a 50-50 split. They could get there earlier by jettisoning a lot of their existing content but if they continue to drop dozens of titles and not replace them with titles of comparable quality, they are going to have a tough time retaining subscribers. Right now, they are pumping out so much new content that they are starting to lose their handle on quality control. (Of course, they never had it with Adam Sandler.). People rave about Stranger Things but the much more expensive first half of The Get Down got about a week's worth of attention.

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  20. New article shows why Netflix doesn't give a dam about us and will do whatever they want.

    Hunt says the other mistake companies make is to listening to their customers, because
    "customers are poor at knowing what they need."

    Netflix increased prices and spun out its DVD service into one called Qwikster. The change
    ticked off customers. And Netflix still split the company apart internally.


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    1. That was rather...disturbing to say the least. Also, this may explain why certain things have transpired of late (moving expiration dates to harder to see places and reducing the amount of notice, removal of dates when films are supposed to arrive, sudden removals of various films, etc).

      I think we need to remind Netflix it's the customers that also make it possible to fund a 200 country expansion and it would be wise not to insult said customers if one doesn't want to go the route of Blockbuster.

      Delete
    2. I keep thinking many of us will stick with Netflix until whatever we each perceive as "good" content dries up enough to make something else a better deal. Some have already fled to Amazon Prime or Hulu. Those, like me, who value the long tail of obscure indie and international films will eventually flee for more highbrow services like these:
      - Filmstruck: debuting sometime this fall, still in closed beta, pricing unannounced but will have one tier from Turner Classic Movies and an additional premium tier from the Criterion Collection
      - Tribeca Shortlist: $4.99/month, 150 movies with 50 cycling in and out each month, looks to be some of the cream of what has been on Netflix
      I know I would miss the variety of international movies I've found on Netflix, which is still fairly strong for things like Bollywood, Korean TV, indie Middle Eastern and Latin American and Scandinavian. Who else provides this?

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  21. 50/50 split is not good. Looks like I won't be a subscriber soon in the future. Most original content I hate and many good licensed content already expired and just wait until Janurary 2017 except for the CW content which they did renew there most likely be nothing left for me to watch.

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  22. See my comment on yesterday's home page.

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