Thursday, June 30, 2005

King Kong

The King Kong movie trailer. It looks pretty cool.

Pity the poor USPS

I bet you that Netflix is one of the largest customers the USPS has, if not THE biggest.

Netflix says they ship over a million discs each day, so divide that by 35,000 titles, and you get an average of 28 copies of each title. It's more likely that they have hundreds of copies of some titles, and only one or two of others.

This figure also means that an average of 77% of their inventory is rented each day, leaving each distribution center nearly empty at the end of the day.

A million shipments each day, divided by 35 distribution centers, means an average distribution center ships about 28,000 discs each day. I know that Sunnyvale, CA ships 100,000 per day, so that means there are some facilities that ship far fewer. Still, imagine how big a truck you would need to hold that many.

What if Netflix offered everything by download?

In this article on TV over the Internet, aka IPTV, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, "supports [the] hope that consumer demand exists for millions of channels. Mr. Hastings says Netflix ships 35,000 unique DVDs to subscribers in the U.S. every day. He also believes that IPTV will give rise to a tidal wave of new programming. 'The web is a bastion of freedom, and the rate of creation is unbelievable,' he says."

Imagine 35,000 titles being downloaded by 3 million people each day. How much bandwidth would you need?

Imagine 3 million people all downloading a million discs each day. If they were available by download, that number could increase to 3 million downloads per day. Demand would surely increase. Netflix members and visitors already watch more than 90,000 movie trailers per day on the Netflix website.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

More photos of inside Netflix distribution center

Google Video provides screen captured photos from a news item on KRON 4 News at 5:30 on January 31, 2005, showing Netflix workers processing envelopes in a San Francisco Bay area Netflix distribution center. I keep hoping the video will someday be available. In the bottom left-hand part of the photo, you can see the discs already in sleeves being scanned, presumably.

Image hosted by

KRON 4 did a Netflix vs. Blockbuster comparison back in January 2004 which gives the lead to Blockbuster for accuracy, but Netflix for speed. Read it here.

Spielberg's disrepect for the fans

Regarding his movie The War of the Worlds, which opens today, Stephen Spielberg says "'Science fiction for me is a vacation, a vacation away from all the rules of narrative logic, a vacation away from physics and physical science.
'It just let's you leave all the rules behind and just kind of fly.' "

Wrong! What an ignorant remark on the part of a supposedly genius filmmaker! I prefer my science fiction movies with the science left in.

Hey, I almost wrote an entire post without using the word "Netflix" in a sentence!

Netflix is great for third shift workers

Livejournal user samuraizergling has another great reason to use Netflix. He works third shift, so on nights he's not working, he's up all night, which makes weekends "a real drag. All the bars close at 2am, and you can only do so much late-night grocery shopping. And after all the laundry is done, and you have had all the baths one can usefully take, we enter the Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. The time from 4am until about 9am when stuff starts to open again. Nothing on TV except infomercials and bad movies."

Now thanks to Netflix, he can watch fresh movies or TV episodes on DVD every weekend.

Netflix is number three movie site on the Web

Top movie sites by ZDNet

Direct Marketing News quotes HitWise data regarding top movie sites and their reach.

The Internet Movie Database: 14.63%
Yahoo Movies: 9.79%
NetFlix: 8.57%
MSN Entertainment - Movies: 5.73%
Blockbuster: 4.94%
Fandango 3.55%
Moviefone: 3.40% 2.06% 1.66%
Rotten Tomatoes: 1.65%

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Netflix fan + camera = chaos

Netflix days
Originally uploaded by aroid.
Poor Grandma is a tool of a crazy Netflix fan who can't resist putting in a plug for his favorite online DVD rental firm.

Looking for Friends in all the right places

This is a Netflix fan, with varied tastes, and he is looking for Netflix Friends. If you're interested, email him at geary underline chopoff at hotmail dot com.

Roger Ebert agrees with me

Roger Ebert validates my method of filling my Netflix queue, by using this blog's favorite book.

In the Orange County Register, Ebert says, "The real usefulness of...a book like '1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,' is that it provides good ideas for DVD rentals. I have, by the way, seen 943 of the 1,001 movies, and am carefully rationing the remaining titles to prolong my life."

I'm not surprised that he's seen most of them, but I am amused that he bothered to count how many he's seen. That's such a movie-geek thing to do.

Customers win in war of online DVD rental firms

The Boston Globe compares Netflix and Blockbuster, and seems to say Netflix is better. Says Blockbuster is trying to use stores and the USPS to speed delivery times. Read more.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Netflix Recommendations & Friends

Netflix has made updates to the design of the Friends and Recommendations pages. The Recommendations tab now has an introduction which leads you through it in steps. The Friends tab has a new design scheme, as well as a new quiz, which asks "Which Friend?" so you can show how well you know your Friends' taste.

I hadn't visited my recommendations page on in a while, because I'm not interested in adding to my queue. I'm using the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die to fill my queue, exclusively. I'm looking forward to the day when I finish that list, when I can have fun with recommendations.

Amazon launches a German DVD rental service


Amazon today launched a DVD rental service in Germany. It is Amazon’s second DVD rental offering, following the launch of rentals in the U.K. late last year.

Amazon is offering German movie viewers rentals as low as €9.99 a month for three rentals with only one movie out at a time to €18.99 a month for six rentals and three out at a time. Customers who sign up during the initial promotional period will receive 5% off the purchase of DVDs.

Amazon’s European offerings are widely seen as a prelude to entering the U.S. market with online DVD rentals. The company has not announced such plans, but an Amazon spokeswoman indicated last year that such an offering might be in the works. Netflix, the leader on online DVD rentals, has told investors it is preparing for the day when Amazon enters the market. The online DVD market has been brutal, however, and Wal-mart recently turned over its DVD rental business to Netflix.

Waiting for the DVD from Netflix

Out of the 254 movies I've seen so far this year, I saw only 21 of them in the theatre. Last year, I saw 91 movies in the theatre. At the rate I'm going, I will have seen about half that number this year. It's because I get a constant stream of titles from Netflix, that I can't bring myself to leave the house and spend the extra money to see a film that I know I can add to my queue instead.

I used to feel like I had to see them all in the same year in which they were released, so I could be ready for the Academy Awards. I managed to see about 96% of the nominees last year. This year, I don't care. The Academy Awards are a joke. I saw so many good performances that didn't even get nominated. Academy members are lazy. They don't see the most worthy films, just the ones with the best hors d'oeuvres.

Besides, it'll all be out on Netflix soon enough.

Netflix news and suggestions from Dave

Dave Musselman has a couple of good suggestions for Netflix, one of which is to include an optional field on his queue which would allow him to make notes, to remind him about why he chose the movie. For you Mac OS X users out there, Netflix Freak already allows this. Read more.

His other post is about how Netflix is looking to hire a Product Management Director to manage the development of an Electronic Delivery system, to deliver high quality movies to our TVs through the Internet. Read more.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Driving past Netflix

driving past netflix
Originally uploaded by jcmeloni.
It's Flickr Friday!

Netflix was at SilverDocs promoting their film

Cynthia Rockwell reports from SilverDocs, an AFI/Discovery Channel documentary film festival in Silver Spring, MD., that Netflix was there, promoting their film The Comedians of Comedy. Read more...

Blockbuster is The Devil

I love headlines like this one.

BitchFestivus says:
"Before I joined Blockbuster Online, in spite of my feelings about the company, I would never in a million years have thought it possible that such a large and successful corporation would be running such a disastrous operation. This isn't some nobody company nosing in on the Netflix business; this is the biggest name in movie rentals in the world. So why can't they even approximate the level of quality of the Netflix service?"

The Opiate of the Masses

"Poppy" spends a "pretty pathetic evening" digging under "the children's DVDs, GameCube game booklets, Happy Meal toys, empty VHS boxes and loose tapes scattered and stacked throughout the sunroom" looking for the Netflix DVDs she rented, "oh, about a month ago."

"(Oh, and by the way--don't think I'm not aware of the irony that the owner of a blog called 'The Opiate of the Masses' is basically so out of touch with television broadcasting that her main way of keeping up is watching five-year-old shows on DVD. Which she orders from NetFlix and then loses in the Tomb of the Ghost of Media Past otherwise known as 'the sunroom.')"

Read more of this funny blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Canadian Video store wants a bite of the Netflix pie Challenges Netflix and Blockbuster for a Share of the $6 Billion Dollar DVD Rental Market:
VANCOUVER, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 22, Inc. (PINK SHEETS:VMHVF) is now the latest player in the estimated annual $6 billion dollar DVD rental market. Today it is announcing the launch of its new on-line DVD rental site into the North American marketplace. Through its website, U.S. customers will now be able to rent as many DVDs as they can watch for a flat monthly fee of $17.99 per month without having to worry about paying late fees. Canadian customers will also be able to rent movies from the same website. Recent industry events, such as the end to the online DVD pricing war, have created an opportunity for company to launch its rental site directly into both the U.S. and Canadian markets. is no stranger to the movie industry. It has been selling movies online worldwide through its website since June, 2001. Its existing data base of over 200,000 customers represents a solid launching pad from which it will commence its rental operations. By offering a truly one stop shopping experience, the online customer will have the option to either buy or rent a DVD at anytime. With both options together on one site, the company expects to see increased traffic and sales in both divisions.

Last quarter, the company recorded its first ever operating profit and is projecting gross sales in excess of $3,500,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2005. This represents an increase of 250% compared to the previous year and sales are continuing to grow rapidly.

Industry figures show DVD sales in North America totalled a record $15.5 billion dollars in 2004 and According to Gene Walton of New York-based Walton Holdings, "The DVD rental business is a $6 billion business annually while online rentals currently capture only 10% of the market." VMHVF believes there is ample opportunity for a profitable, low-cost, online provider to capture a significant share of both markets.

Certain information and statements included in this release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.

S. Gaspar, President & CEO
They are based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. The distribution center for the rental division is in Bellingham, Washington.

What do you value most about Netflix?

I've found a blogger who puts into words the very thing that originally made me a Netflix fan:
"However, what I find even more compelling about Netflix is the ability to track new DVD releases and maintain a growing list of movies that I would like to see. I can even add and track movies that have not been released in theatres or on DVD. Netflix can then provide automatic management of new DVD releases into my viewing list on a schedule that I can adjust. On top of that, Netflix provides recommendations and reviews from critics as well as the Netflix community. The net effect is that I now have a relationship with Netflix where Netflix is my personal 'movie concierge' or 'movie butler'. By providing these personalized services, Netflix is enhancing my overall movie watching experience by ensuring that I see more quality movies that align with my interests and tastes. This value is something that allows Netflix to maintain a premium over other companies that solely focus on delivery efficiency, as well as ensure stickiness that increases switching costs for customers. "
Read more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Slightly more fanfare for DVD sales

I'm glad to see that Netflix has finally placed a banner ad on its home page, for the sale of previously-viewed titles. I was beginning to wonder if they were ashamed of what they were doing, as if they were pawning the silver-ware.

Pizza Owners Can Now Offer DVD Rentals and Pizza with Every Order

This sounds like a cool idea: "DVDsTOO, a division of Sandstorm Home entertainment, has recently introduced a complete yet simple web based system for pizza owners to offer pizza and a movie to their clients. Over a regular internet connection, pizza owners can rent newly released DVDs to their clients with their pizza orders."

I can't find any information about Sandstorm Home Entertainment, except they are also the people behind RentShark, a software suite which enables bricks and mortar video stores to start their own online video rental services.

Read more

Netflix burnout?

This blogger was so enthusiastic about Netflix, that he rented too many movies in too short a time. You know it's possible to have too much of a good thing, even Netflix.

"The result is one I had not expected: The renting of movies has become almost a chore."

Don't worry, the story has a happy ending :). Read more


Social lists Netflix as a client. They did "Strategic design for the Netflix community features & programs".

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Netflix Queue Manager with BOB

Netflix Queue Manager has been updated to add support for "BOB", another name for those mouseover pop-up movie summaries which I thought were called "Ajax".

Get it here.


SuperBorrowNet looks like an interesting alternative to Peerflix or a supplement to Netflix. It's built on a Peerflix model, in that you make a list of items you have available to share. You invite friends to borrow from you, and they make a list of stuff they're willing to share with you. Instead of buying stuff, you're "borrowing" and "sharing" it, which means you retain all ownership rights, including the right to "recall" a shared item any time. You restrict your sharing to people you trust. Privacy is guaranteed. You can share DVDs, books, creative works, lawn tools, etc. Whatever you have in mind to share, you can share. You are responsible for shipping costs, so you might want to limit your sharing to folks in your town.

Switching to Netflix

From Ren's Journal: "OK, I'm finally switching from Blockbuster Online to Netflix. It was kind of a 'last straw' in reverse. I found out about one more Netflix feature that pushed me over the edge."

Guess which feature.

Monday, June 20, 2005

VCR: It altered our lives forever

Filed under "We've come a long way, baby".

Netflix is another step in an evolutionary process which began 28 years ago.
"The video marketplace was spawned in 1977 when George Atkinson ordered one VHS and one Beta copy of each of 50 movies from an ad in TV Guide.

Using those titles, he transformed his 8mm movie rental storefront in Los Angeles to Video Station. He charged a $50 annual membership and $10 a day to rent movies."

Read more

Via the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Peerflix review from Brad

Brad writes:

"I’ve written a few times about Peerflix the P2P DVD trading system similar to some of my own ideas. After trying it for a few months, I have to report trouble.

As I feared, as a DVD drops in popularity, it means somebody will be stuck with it. I feel it should be the original contributor but in Peerflix, it’s whoever happens to have traded for it most recently."

"Now for “new releases” this is not the case. The DVDs I contributed that were recent and in high demand did get requested quite quickly. But the lesson quickly learned is that if you want to watch a slightly older DVD, you truly are buying it rather than borrowing it. If rapid watching is your goal, trading off a recent DVD for an older one will leave you in the lurch."

Bottom line?

"The cheaper plans from Netflix or other competitors make more sense. "

Netflix vs. Blockbuster

Blogger Mike Greiner writes a good review of Netflix vs. Blockbuster, from January 2005.

Guess who wins?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Some Netflix envelopes have a little window in the back

The hole in the back is especially placed in order to show the barcode of the movie inside. This allows movies to be put in envelopes and labeled completely by machines. The machine scans the barcode from the outside to identify the enclosed title in order to know who to ship it to. Automation improves efficiency, which shortens processing and delivery times.

Once you receive it and return it, they have to open the envelope to remove the movie anyway, so the direction your disc is facing is irrelevant.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Single's night in

single's night in
Originally uploaded by Esther17.

Amazon unlikely to rent in the U.S.

From an article in Video Business Online:

"Amazon no longer appears serious about entering the online DVD rental business in the U.S., according to Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy."

Via Hacking Netflix

Nearest Shipping Facility

You might get an envelope from Netflix which has your address preprinted on it, instead of on a stuck-on label. You open it up and discover that inside, the return address says "nearest Netflix shipping facility". Instead of your local distribution center, it has an address for a faraway center. Do not be concerned. This change was made to increase efficiency of distribution, and will not affect your service, according to Steve Swasey, Director, Corporate Communications for Netflix Inc. He says members should not alter their envelopes in any way.

I haven't noticed a problem with it, myself, but if you think this is affecting your service, complain to Netflix.

To cut a long story short

Netflix has an amazing number of movie previews available online. Do you ever use them to decide what to watch? Well, the Guardian Unlimited has a great feature article on how the studios make teaser trailers/previews. Have you ever noticed that the trailer is completely different from or much better than the movie?

"'We are often asked to make silk purses out of sow's ears,' Lafontaine concedes. 'But it's our job. And even the worst movie in the world is going to be somebody's favourite movie.' A few weeks ago, in her smoky office in London's Soho, Mary McGrane, an editor who put together the trailers for the second Bridget Jones film, echoed Lafontaine's sentiments. 'Friends see films I've done trailers for and say I only put in the best bits,' she said. 'Of course I only put in the best bits. If I'd put in all the shit bits, you wouldn't have gone to see it.'"

Read more

Bad Movie, Verboten Subject? says: "Netflix makes it too easy to queue up bad movies"

Do you find yourself renting crap that you otherwise wouldn't try, because Netflix makes it easy to take risks?

Zertinet Reviews online movie rental options

Zertinet reviews online movie rental options, including video downloads. Guess who wins?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

You think I'm obsessed?

This guy says I'm obsessed with Netflix. It doesn't hurt my feelings. I can see how you might get that impression. However, I am not obsessed. In between blogging about Netflix and watching DVDs from Netflix and getting all my friends to sign up for Netflix, I do other things.

Like, for instance, I take my dog to the park. I have dinner with friends. I celebrate birthdays and holidays with family and friends. I went camping this month.

I have plans for the future. I will go to the lake in July, for the fireworks. I will go to the Grand Canyon in August. I am going to buy a house.

In my spare time, I read books, other than 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. For example, I'm reading another book, called American Silent Film.

Do you still think I'm obsessed?


If you STILL need help filling your Netflix queue, liveplasma is a type of search and discovery engine which maps your results graphically. Use it to search according to movie title, actor or director, and it will show you all the related results and introduce you to others you might be potentially interested in.

Netflix vs. GreenCine

Image hosted by VS Image hosted by

Film nut reviews Netflix vs. GreenCine. Guess who wins?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Independent Movie Distribution

In addition to Netflix, here's another resource for getting independent films out there:

The goals of are to facilitate Independent Movie Distribution in these ways:

  • Create a digital film library with the widest breadth of content possible
  • Broaden exposure by making hard-to-find works available through Internet distribution
  • Enable high-quality display on a variety of devices and networks
  • Assist filmmakers by providing collaborative tools, digital rights management (DRM), and commerce solutions.

Why I like Netflix

Netflix fan Robert Minter says there are movies out there that,

"It's not something I would want to buy, and It's not likely something the clerk at Blockbuster is going to know about. Netflix is perfect for this sort of thing, they have it, and it's on the way."

Read more

Netflix Queue Manager Updated

  • Added Update Queue button
  • Added Bug mode switcher
  • The Manager is invoked automatically when the Queue page is visited
  • The Update can be done from the Manager
  • When the page is reloaded after the Update the manager is re-invoked automatically
  • If you Close to get out of the Manager, you can switch back without reloading the page

    Get it at

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Netflix search plug-in for Mozilla-based browsers

You must have one of these browsers already installed: Netscape 7, Mozilla, Firefox, and Beonex.

download the Netflix search plugin here

You gotta have Friends

Savage Nomad and Netflix fan JayB still searching for Netflix Friends. Drop him a line.

Is Netflix reading your mind?

Michael Geary thinks so:

"Netflix has been freaking me out lately.

At lunch couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine recommended the Alfred Hitchcock classic Dial M for Murder. That night I logged into Netflix, and as usual, they told me You Have Recommendations! And right there at the top of the page was Dial M for Murder."

Read more

James Rocchi on Movies

Paul Harris, a radio talk-show host at KMOX in St. Louis, interviewed Netflix's own James Rocchi on Movies. You can listen to it here. It's about 9 minutes long. He says interesting things about the Cannes Film Festival, Mr and Mrs Smith, and the Honeymooners.

Netflix opens 35th Shipping Center Memphis, TN. Like most Netflix subscribers, lucky Memphis-area subscribers are now experiencing one-day delivery.

Via Hacking NetFlix

Monday, June 13, 2005

Netflix adds new Board members

Netflix Press Release:
LOS GATOS, Calif., June 13, 2005

Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the world's largest online movie rental service, today announced the appointments of two accomplished business leaders, A. George ('Skip') Battle and Greg Stanger, to the company's board of directors. The move increases the number of Netflix directors to eight.

Use the Netflix model to rent an MMOG character

BoingBoing says:
GamePal will rent you a pre-played character for the massively multiplayer game of your choice, already leveled-up to the point where the game starts to get really fun, without having to do all that tedious grinding. If you like your rental character, you can buy it. The rental works by sending discs with the game, reg code, and character through the postal mail.

Image hosted by

Lazy Geek tries Netflix

"Having a Blockbuster right outside my apartment complex, I was tempted to join Blockbuster's DVD by mail program so that I would also get some coupons for in-store movie rentals. After all I thought, brand doesn't matter. A movie buff requires only a store with movies and it will do. After constant pressures from few of my like-minded friends, I landed at Netflix.

Netflix was a suprise to me."

Read why

I'm in the 60's now

I'm trying to see every movie in this book, the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, in chronological order. I have finished with the 1950's and have begun the 1960's. I've seen 522 out of 1001. If it were not for the fine service that Netflix provides, I could never hope to accomplish a goal like this.

Update on Greenzap

This is an update to the post I did on June 9 about how Greenzap was claiming to be "partnered with" Netflix. Greenzap has since removed the Netflix logo from their site.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hey Netflixers!

If you're a Netflixer, this blogger needs Friends for movie recommendations.

In which, Dr. Mabuse comes in two parts, or "Blockbuster Online doesn't know what it has"

Image hosted by
I had must-see movie Dr. Mabuse: the Gambler (1922) in three queues at the same time: Netflix, Nicheflix, and Greencine, because all of them had it as "very long wait". I was going to see who would send it to me first. Netflix has it in a two-disc set, but they ship both simultaneously. Greencine has the same listing, same cover art, but they ship each disc separately. Ditto Nicheflix.

Nicheflix was the first to send it to me. They sent Disc One, but Disc Two was "very long wait".

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Blockbuster Online had it, and it was "available now"! Blockbuster is not known for having the rare, arty-farty titles. They had the same listing, same cover art, but their description doesn't say if it's a one-disc or two-disc title. I was expecting to get both discs, even though I needed only Disc Two.

Lucky me, Blockbuster Online sent me ONLY Disc Two (!) of Dr. Mabuse, in a sleeve that was marked 1 of 1. I still reported it as a "disc issue", saying I received the wrong movie, even though it's the right movie for me (by sheer luck), because they obviously don't know that it's supposed to be a two disc set. I wouldn't want the next customer to get only Disc Two. If you're going to get only one disc, get the first one. It's better.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Netflix NOT affiliated with GreenZap

Image hosted by
I saw a Netflix logo on the GreenZap Web site. I've seen other sites claiming that Greenzap is a scam. Greenzap claims to have a relationship with different online retailers, including Netflix, so I called Netflix Public Relations to verify if this is so. The official statement from Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey, Director of Corporate Communications for Netflix, is that "Netflix does not have a relationship or affiliation with Greenzap. They do not have permission from us to use the Netflix logo, and we have asked them to remove it."

If you go to the Greenzap site today, you may have a little trouble with it. When I tried to look at the Google cache of the site, it redirected me to the Google home page.

All customer interactions are conducted directly with Netflix through the official Netflix Website. Do not go through any other vendors. Netflix takes customer relationships and information confidentiality very seriously.

I hate giving press to stuff like Greenzap, but I want you to be cautioned about it, and not get fooled into giving those people your money.

Netflix "just a little more legal" than BitTorrent

"Netflix has things that I can't find torrents for"

Read it all

Privacy leakage via Netflix...

"Someone in my apartment building has been stealing our Netflix videos (the videos don't fit in our mail slots and are placed outside of our locked mailboxes)."

Read more at Not Quite a Blog 2.0

Aiming for the Niche

via CNET

Some of Netflix's competitors don't have a chance of displacing the pioneer giant. They appear to be content just to have the crumbs from the table. They succeed by focusing on subculture films and building an online community., a community Web site and online and offline store that specializes in Japanese animation. Like Netflix, their year-old subsidiary is offering DVD rentals by mail for a monthly fee. But there's a big difference: Every single movie in their catalog is anime or anime-related.

Greencine is a DVD rental service focusing on a number of niche content areas--not the "National Treasure" crowd, its employees say--which has built up a loyal group of "tens of thousands" of subscribers in its third year of operation.

"We see ourselves as more of a supplemental service in the DVD rental field," said Craig Phillips, one of the company's editors. "Diversification seems to be a key, as well as being creative. We're really filling in gaps that aren't catered to by Netflix or the other big services."
Continue reading.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Buy Walmart DVDs from Netflix?

Maybe this new "buy movies" feature at Netflix is just a way for them to sell off Walmart's online DVD rental inventory.

Why Are Some Netflix DVD Sets Bigger?

Hacking NetFlix answers the question, "Why Are Some Netflix DVD Sets Bigger?" You might have noticed that Netflix sends out more discs for some series titles than what the set has if you get it from a store.

I was told that a very limited number of multi-disc movies are released on double-sized DVD's, and since these are fragile and more likely to break in shipping, Netflix ships single-sided, screen printed discs that increase the number of DVD's for these titles.

Read more.

Akimbo review on Engadget

Akimbo is a device/service I've been keeping an eye on for some time, as a possible substitute for cable. You use it to download digital programs from the Internet directly to your TV. This is the sort of thing Netflix might use to provide video on demand. It's not there yet, but it's growing, and Engadget has a review of it.

Smokers invited to win Netflix

Smokers Welcome, which is the Web site for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company's Salem(r) brand of cigarettes, is having a sweepstakes in which Second Prize is a six month Netflix DVD subscription. Open only to smokers over age 18. Sign up here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Netflix CFO to Speak at the Morgan Stanley Small Cap Executive Conference

Here's a press release for you investors out there:

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX - News) today announced Barry McCarthy, CFO will present at the Morgan Stanley Small Cap Executive Conference in New York City. Mr. McCarthy is scheduled to present on Wednesday, June 15, 2004 at 5:45 a.m. Pacific Time/8:45 a.m. Eastern Time.

You can get the live webcast here.

Via Yahoo! Biz

Netflix Sells Movies!

You'd think that Netflix would introduce their new features with slightly more fanfare than NONE. Now they have returned to selling previously-viewed discs on their site, with a discreet little link in the upper-right-hand corner, next to the "my account" link. You apparently have to be logged into your account to access the feature.

Click through to Hacking NetFlix for nice screencaps.

MyNetflix Plugin for Wordpress has made a Netflix plugin, called MyNetflix 1.5 for displaying your Netflix queue on your WordPress 1.5 blog. There's also MyNetflix 1.0 for Wordpress 1.2 or 1.3. Nice.

Guess Which Movie

Here's another way to justify your Netflix subscription, by putting it to good use:

If you're fond of movies, quizzes, and clicking on little web buttons for hours at a time, have we got a site for you. Your task: Guess the movie. Your tools: Four images from the film. Sounds like a breeze, but don't count on it. There's no (A) Halloween (B) Halloween II (C) Halloween III (D) The Bicycle Thief. Instead, there are 20 movie choices for each set of images. Some are gimmes, like the group displaying shots of Paul Newman, a poolroom, and the back of Tom Cruise (The Color of Money); others will take a lengthy process of elimination, especially if you haven't seen the flick in question. (Let's see, was Lindsay Lohan in Fight Club?) You can also register at the site and qualify for enormous fame on the results list. (in Movies & Film)

Via Yahoo! Picks

Monday, June 06, 2005

Theatrical movies are just commercials for DVDs

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about how Netflix is taking a bite out of boxoffice. The movie business folks know this is happening, and they are facing a crisis.
As more and more kids -- the prime target moviegoers -- order their movies through Netflix, Movielink computer downloads and cable VOD, theatergoing is taking a hit. (Even with the summer in full swing, admissions for the year are down 7%.)

What they are considering, as a solution, is to release movies simultaneously in theatres and on home video. Wouldn't that be great?
What everyone knows, but few want to admit on record, is that day-and-date delivery of movies through every platform -- with different pricing -- is inevitable. As Landmark Theatres marketing chief Ray Price puts it, 'This is the year that the walls of Jericho could come tumbling down.'

Via Hollywood Reporter:

Netflix is #18 on The Top 400 Guide

The Top 400 Guide identifies and ranks the 400 largest retail web sites by their 2004 sales and measures other key statistics for each e-commerce site, including monthly visits, monthly unique visits, sales conversion rate and average ticket. Netflix is #18.

You can order it from

Netflix Users discussion group

Here's another online discussion forum for Netflix Users. It seems to be brand new. I found it via the Netflix Operations discussion group on Yahoo.

Friday, June 03, 2005

DivX, Inc. and GreenCine Announce Online Film Festival Finalists

"GreenCine (, the preeminent Video-on-Demand and DVD Rent-by-Mail company with an unsurpassed collection of independent, international and classic films, and DivX, Inc. (, the company that created the revolutionary, patent-pending DivX(R) video compression technology, today announced the finalists of the GreenCine Online Film Festival, presented by DivX, Inc. " Via

I like how GreenCine claims to be "unsurpassed" and "preeminent". I reckon Netflix could challenge those assertions. The New Home of TV Tome

If you use Netflix to keep up with TV shows you've missed or loved, there's a brand new Web site for you, which started June 2. offers plot summaries, photos, video clips, cast lists and online forums related to TV series - from the 1940s to today. It's part of the C|Net network of Web sites.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

DVDs by post

DVDs by post
Originally uploaded by Irregular Shed.
ScreenSelect, an online DVD rental service in Britain, ships their discs in a plastic case which fits inside the mailer, instead of using a sleeve like Netflix. Their mailers are otherwise similar to the Netflix's.

Netflix sponsors jury award for Fifth Annual Media that Matters Film Festival

"The Jury Award was sponsored by Netflix and presented by Ted Sarandos, the company's chief content officer. 'Netflix is proud to be back in the Media That Matters Film Festival because we share the vision that film is not only an amazing source of entertainment but also an essential vehicle for social change.'"


"Deep Throat" news makes movie move on Netflix

The unmasking of ``Deep Throat,'' an anonymous source who helped the Washington Post, has sparked renewed interest in the scandal that led to the downfall of Richard Nixon's presidency. Netflix said rentals of the 1976 movie about the scandal, ``All the President's Men,'' have increased 1,153 percent in the 24 hours since it was revealed that former FBI official W. Mark Felt told Vanity Fair magazine that he was ``the guy they used to call Deep Throat.''

OK, I'll bite

It seems everyone is buzzing about Dave Winer's idea to partner with to connect people who like the same kind of movies. Well, a commenter on Cinematical piped up with, which already does this.

I'm coming late to the table with this story because I think it's silly. I may watch a lot of movies, but it's a poor basis for a relationship. I'm sure there are plenty of jerks out there who love Casablanca.

If you're looking for love online, I recommend eHarmony.

New Netflix Features: Popup Control and Genres

The always-improving Netflix Web site has new features!

Have you noticed the movie descriptions that popup when you put your mouse pointer on a title? Well, now you can turn them off, if you want. It's under Account Details in Your Account. Click on or off the box next to "Enable extra movie information".

In addition to rating movies, you can also rate genres. This way, Netflix won't bother to offer recommendations to you in genres you don't like.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 gives the most satisfaction

MediaPost did a study which looked at consumer satisfaction with online shopping sites, and came out on top, beating out Amazon, QVC, Newegg, and LLBean.
The study, which looked at consumer satisfaction with sites, considered a variety of factors: price, selection of merchandise, and overall experience--including the look and feel, navigation, function, performance, and site capabilities.

The study also found that loyalty and the likelihood of a browser to buy, or recommendations of the site to a friend, were directly correlated to a high satisfaction score.

Consumers at Netflix appeared particularly likely to return to the site, although its prices are higher than other online DVD rental services. Still, the report noted that long-term prospects are subject to change because of stiff competitors in the area, such as Blockbuster, which recently adopted a similar model.
Read more (subscription req'd)
Via MarketingVOX.

Netflix takes a bite out of boxoffice | 05/27/2005 | Box office business down for third year: Movie fans change how they watch

Brian Goble, 37, a video game entrepreneur, said he hasn't been to a movie theater in two years, except to see "Star Wars" with his wife and four friends.

Instead, he stays at his home in a Seattle suburb, where he has turned the basement into a home theater with a 53-inch high-definition television screen and large speakers for surround sound.

He no longer has to deal with parking and jostling crowds, he said, a relief now that he has two children under the age of 2.

"It's really just not as comfortable and fun as being at home," he said. "You can pause, go to the bathroom, deal with a crying kid. I can't remember the last movie I saw in a theater."

Goble rarely watches video-on-demand ("The quality is poor," he said.)

Instead, he has an account with Netflix (he recently rented DVDs of the popular "The Bourne Supremacy" and not-so-popular "Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow") and orders his movies online.

When the Nicolas Cage movie "National Treasure" was released in November, for instance, he added it to his Netflix list so he would automatically be sent a copy when it came out on DVD.

His prime regret about seeing the final installment of "Star Wars" was that he could not watch it at home.

"The only reason to go to the theater these days," he said, "is because it is a movie you must see now."