Friday, December 31, 2004

Netflix: The Year in Review

Congratulations, Netflix!! You have done an incredible job! It has been an amazing, exciting year, for movie lovers and Netflix fans. Here are some of Netflix's accomplishments that I've noted over the past year. Please be sure to comment if I've missed anything.

The number of subscribers has grown from 1,487,000 in December 2003 to more than two million now.

We are the beneficiaries of a price war. The price for the 3-out service has gone up, to a high of $21.99, and down, to the current low of $17.99.

Their collection of titles is up to 30,000 now, from 15,000 a year ago. They ship 3 million discs each week. Over 85% of subscribers, including me, receive their discs the next day, most of the time. I would imagine the other 15% write snarky blogs :).

I've recorded 38 shipping center locations, but the official count is 29, which means they must have closed a few. The only ones officially announced in 2004 were Lakeland, FL, Kansas City (MO or KS?), Louisville, KY, Las Vegas, NV, Pittsburgh, PA; Baton Rouge, LA; and Columbia, SC. They haven't announced any closings, of course.

Netflix has added the Friends service, RSS, and an "official" blog. They've repeatedly redesigned their Web site to make it more interactive and user-friendly, adding little details like the "in queue" and "move to top" buttons.

In the last year, via the 3-out and 5-out plans, I have managed to rent over 180 titles. That's an average of 15 per month, at an average cost between one and two dollars each. I've experienced a couple of lost discs, a couple of damaged, and two wrong discs. A 3% error rate is very good, if it ain't brain surgery.

Because of Netflix, I have bought two more DVD players, a large-screen HDTV, and a sound system.

I have become a movie geek and started writing my own blog. I think Netflix is better than color TV :). Thank you, Netflix, for providing so much good material for my blog!


  1. I'm all for the price war.  I think all the competition has given the
    consumer more bang for their buck. However, your picture of Netflix may be
    rosier than most.  Motley Fool reviewed 2004 with their article, Five
    Stocks That Tanked.  Unfortunately, Netflix was one of the five. 
    Netflix also inspired me to write my first online journal although I focus on my frustration with their poor customer service.  To be fair, Netflix has provided me with 500 anime since 8/03 but with Blockbuster, GreenCine, and Amazon (coming soon!) I'm no longer limited to one source.

    Customer Satisfaction -  Netflix needs to learn the meaning if they
    intend to survive (esp. with new competitors).

  2. 1) Didn't they also open Honolulu, HI during 2004?
    2) Where is the 'official' blog?

    Mark Bruso
    Portland, OR

  3. I am sorry to say that the number of DVDs that you receive a month are exactly the number that NETFLIX would like everybody to receive. Get that number up higher and see how happy you are about their service. We can add in such service techniques as "shipping the next day", "a week for a DVD to travel 20-miles and be logged in",and strangely enough "shipping today" appears when a holiday occurs the next day.

  4. I wonder why so many people are hung up on conspiracy theories when it comes to Netflix. Sure, their service isn't perfect. Discs occasionally don't ship exactly when I want them to, but they are still head-and-shoulders above the other online rental companies in every way. Less than 10% of the movies in my queue have a wait of any kind; I *normally* receive my selections in a single day; and their web site is still very user friendly. I hope to heck that they are not bought out by Blockbuster or Wal Mart. Amazon is another story entirely; as much as I like Netflix, Amazon may be the future...

  5. I have to say that I don't consider it a conspiracy theory when six weeks in a row every DVD logged in except new releases says "shipping the next day". My shipping center is Philadelphia so I wouldn't consider that a little center.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. I am also a movie geek and love the convenience of having my movies delivered to my home, but I have to agree with the comments that some users have posted in your blog. I have notice that as long as I am taking a couple of days to watch my movies, I receive my movies with a turn-around time of 2 days max; but that is not the case when I push Netflix by viewing and sending back the same day that I receive my movies. Call me paranoid or conspiracy theorist, but I have been without a movie for more than 7 days.

  8. Mark,

    I didn't include the Honolulu center in that statement, because I wanted to point out that they did not officially announce every opening and closing. I should have been more clear about that.

    As for the "official" blog, I was referring to James Rocchi's blog, the Rocchi Report.


  9. I believed in the conspiracy theories until I actually tested them. I pump movies through the 3-out plan constantly and never hold a movie for more than a day. Netflix has never 'punished' me, nor do I think they are going to.

    Having just ended a Blockbuster and Walmart free trial, even if Netflix did start holding me up it would still be a better deal.

    I actually think this Netflix bashing turns people onto Netflix. I know it did for me, strangely.

  10. "I wonder why so many people are hung up on conspiracy theories when it comes to Netflix. "

    My goodness do you think modern coporations work like mom and pop stores from the 1920's?

    I can't think of a retail coporation the size of netflix which hasn't been using computers for three decades to monitor and affect the most minute trends when it comes to inventory, turnover and customer behavior.

    it isnt one or two people but many, especially early subscribers who have noticed they are being throttled, it is not unheard of in "unlimited" service businesses.

    "Over 85% of subscribers, including me, receive their discs the next day"

    No, the number is 25%.