Wednesday, November 30, 2005
"When it came to delivery, Netflix beat Blockbuster. In a three month time period, Blockbuster only beat Netflix once, and that was during the trial period.
As for the cost, it was $60 to rent 24 movies. To get the same number of movies from a video store would have been $93."
Hacking Netflix beat me to it.
Powerful enough to keep a DVD stuck to the fridge.
Originally uploaded by IvyMike.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Partly because Netflix is increasing demand for many niche titles, the studios and independent filmmakers are stepping up production of straight-to-DVD titles in many niche categories that were previously ignored. Like, for example, college sports, dog-sitting, wine tasting guides, talk shows, quiz shows and Broadway musicals.
This is the first item I've added to my Christmas wish list:
Logitech Harmony 520 Advanced Universal Remote - universal remote control ( 966191-0403 )
Its Fremont, Calif., seller touts it as "the first activity-based remote" that has "a simple online setup process for complete customization."
You can set up the remote to work with your TV, digital cable box and DVD player/VCR combo using a computer and the Logitech Harmony Web site. Once configured, one press of a button will turn on the TV and digital cable or the TV and DVD player. And, just about everything works perfectly.
Via the Washington Times
I'm making an exception this year, and I'm accepting bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, and whatever else my loyal readers or Netflix wants to send me :). You have to do it in the spirit of Christmas, though, and not ask for anything in return.
Monday, November 28, 2005
It's not fun if you are excited about getting a new movie and it doesn't ship when you expect.
I have had the Harold Lloyd Collection in my queue, in the number one spot, ever since I found out it would be released. Netflix has it as being released tomorrow, so I returned a movie on Saturday, hoping that Netflix would receive it today, and then send me my number one choice. Didn't happen.
Did they send me my number two? Nope. I've had Masculin Feminin in the number two spot for about a month, with "Long Wait" status.
Did they send number three? Nope. The Producers has been in the number three spot for about two weeks, also with "Long Wait" status.
I have returned 12 titles in the last 30 days, so my top two choices were passed over 12 times (not counting Harold Lloyd, which wasn't released).
Instead, they sent me my #4 choice AGAIN.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, because I do not queue anything I don't want to see, but I was hoping to get lucky.
That brings up another thought: I don't understand complaining about Netflix sending you an old piece of crap movie IF IT'S IN YOUR QUEUE. What's it doing there if you don't want to see it?
Please pray for Netflix Fan, that she'll bounce back from this crushing blow.
"It's 3pm. I head on over to the Post Office to place my Netflix envelopes in the box. I do and drive off.
Just then I realize that of the three envelopes I have in my back, I have one left. This one has my movie in it...
This means I have placed my envelope with my software backup and web site backup DVDs in the mail, going to Netflix.
Then I head inside to spin my tale of woe to the (who I hope) will be sympathetic postal workers.
On my second person, I gain success. The nice girl there brings a cart and we go out front to the boxes. She opens the box and I pull out my envelopes and quickly locate the one I need.
I thank her profusely and head back to my car feeling thoroughly stupid."
A dead giveaway that a DVD is a bootleg is if the seller advertises that the DVD comes in a "color collector's case." That means a plain package. It also means "recorded off TV."
You don't want something that's been recorded off TV. Quality suffers.
Do your research. Check to see if the studio logo or other trademarks are on the box. The absence of these could be a sign it's a bootleg. Check IMDB.com or Amazon.com to see if the movie has been released on DVD. If it hasn't been released yet, what you're buying isn't legit.
International banker Credit Suisse First Boston is sponsoring an invitation-only conference for 400 investor clients in Phoenix, AZ, and Netflix will be there.
"Face time," said Steve Swasey, spokesman for Netflix, the online movie rental company whose CEO and co-founder, Reed Hastings, is scheduled to present the company's outlook Wednesday.
Hastings may tell all about how the company expects to grow to 5 million subscribers next year or how the company ships 1.2 million DVDs daily - 25,000 at its Phoenix distribution center alone - and other information readily available on its Web site and elsewhere. But for the investors, the conference provides better insight, Swasey said.
"They get to know who's behind the management team in which they're investing," Swasey said.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
I was wondering if I might either pick your brain, or pick the brains of my fellow readers should you choose to publish this. In the past, I had Netflix delivered to me at my workplace. However, I recently began work at a company that has a policy that discourages its employees from receiving personal mail at work (I've not been there long enough to know whether the policy is actually carried out). As I live in an apartment building, my apartment's mailbox is too small to accept a Netflix DVD, and it does not have a bin (not that I'd feel safe leaving DVDs unattended anyway). And the property manager's answer, leaving packages with the custodian at my building, is a less-than-optimal solution due to the frequency upon which I would need to bother him. So, how do I get my Netflix movies delivered to me? The only other solution I can think of is to rent a mailbox at a nearby UPS Store or a Kinko's. However, if someone can think of a less expensive or more palatable response, I'd be appreciative. Any ideas on how best to resolve the situation?
Friday, November 25, 2005
Nicheflix is a great service, but I've decided to quit and go with Nicheflix a la carte instead. Nicheflix is an online DVD-by-mail rental service which specializes in multi-region DVDs. I was using the service as a supplement to Netflix, to obtain the titles Netflix didn't have and which I couldn't find anywhere else. I was on the two-out plan for $19.99/month, and I quit with seven titles in my queue. Of those seven, three were unavailable or out of stock, and three were "available shortly." I think I'll have better luck trying to obtain those titles through the Nicheflix a la carte service, which allows me to rent them individually without a monthly fee. They charge for shipping, but they supply a prepaid return envelope.
If you are looking for rare European, Asian, or American films which haven't been released on DVD here in Region 1, you can rent them from Nicheflix, but you might need to have a multi-region DVD player, and sometimes a PAL converter, too. You can learn more about the various regions and formats here.
I am still a member of Netflix (3-out) and Blockbuster (3-out).
However, I remembered to be thankful that the disc inside was unhurt, and the envelope was delivered promptly, and it has this nifty new design, with an ad for Aeon Flux on the inside of the flap.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
He has good things to say about film.
I'm also going to keep an eye on his blog for rare movies coming to TV which are not available on DVD yet.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a documentary about Tolkien fandom and the enormous influence Tolkien has had on the fantasy worlds of art, music, literature, and film.
By LAURIE J. FLYNN
Published: November 21, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 20 - TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, plans to announce a new feature on Monday that will let TiVo owners watch recorded television shows on Apple's video iPods and on Sony's handheld PSP game machine.
Monday, November 21, 2005
What do you think of this hypothesis? Have you ever received a double-sided disc from Netflix?
"A middle school science teacher in Seattle, Justin Baeder, wondered whether he saved very much getting his DVD's through the mail. So he created an Excel spreadsheet that calculates exactly how much he does save. It turned out to be just a little, about $6 a month, but he loves Netflix and keeps using it.
He's posted the calculator on his Web blog, the Republic of Geektronica at www.geektronica.com. All you need to do is download it and paste your Netflix rental history, which Netflix provides on its site, into the spreadsheet."
I may not be reading the report right, but that sounds cheap. What do you think?
Click here for the PDF.
Internet Retailer magazine announced its Top 50 Best of the Web online retailing web sites. “We are pleased to recognize The Top 50 for 2006. They reflect the best of what retailers can do online,” says Kurt T. Peters, editor of Internet Retailer. “Retailers in our Top 50 aren’t necessarily the biggest, the most profitable or the best known—they are the sites that innovate to take online retailing to the next level.”
Netflix made the list in the Computers/Electronics/CDs/DVDs category, along with these others:
Friday, November 18, 2005
157 were from Netflix
87 from Blockbuster Online (not including in-store coupons)
29 from Nicheflix
33 from Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, and Video Review stores
38 in the theatre (not including various film festivals I've attended)
5 from Greencine
Netflix is testing lower price points on its monthly subscription plans, chief finance officer Barry McCarthy told analysts and investors at the Lehman Brothers Small Cap Conference Wednesday.
“The reason we’re testing it is we think the market is price elastic,” McCarthy said.
The company also believes lower prices could drive more subscribers its way, forcing some moderately successful video stores to close and push even more renters online. As more people go online, the company expects to have to spend less money on marketing, McCarthy said.
Via Hacking Netflix
Props to Jennifer Netherby at VideoBusiness.com for covering the Netflix stories. She interviewed me once. Nice lady.
FC: Who's your ideal Netflix customer?
RH: A customer who's traveling and forgets to rent a movie and watches no movies in a month [might be], because they haven’t cost us anything and they've paid us $9.99 or $17.99. On the other hand, a customer who's a very light user is not going to stay with us very long. It's not that there's something wrong, that they don't like you, it's just that they aren't watching any movies. That's the number one reason for customer churn. On the other extreme we've got users that are total movie hounds -- they're watching 15 movies a month -- and in some narrow sense, it would be better to get rid of them because you're losing money on them. But then, they stay with us a long time. So there is no best customer. We try to make the experience work for all of them and we try to balance that.
An interesting exercise is when we run short of titles. We try to always be in stock, but sometimes we're not. Say we've got 1,000 copies and there's 5,000 people who want a movie. So maybe somebody's already gotten a lot of value for their $20 or $18 or $9 because they've watched a lot of movies while other people have hardly watched that many movies this month, so they haven't gotten enough value yet. Our sense of fairness is that if we run short, it goes first to the people who haven't gotten the most value yet in order to create a fair and balanced experience for our customers.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Netflix is no longer emailing rental histories, so the previous Netflix analysis spreadsheet won’t work.
Geektronica has revised the spreadsheet, so now you can just copy and paste your rental history from their website. The upshot is that it now factors in the time it takes for Netflix to ship you a new disc after they receive your previous disc, which the old spreadsheet didn’t do. In other words, any shipping delay, intentional or not, is factored into your cost analysis.
They have a couple of Netflix widgets which allow you to see your queue in a little window on your desktop, without requiring your browser to be open. It helps if you have an always-on Internet connection.
"A market is quickly emerging for on-demand programming offered online (and via cable or satellite TV). Nearly one in five - 19.1 percent - who are web users say they would probably purchase online on-demand programming (TV shows, movies, concerts or sporting events) that could be watched on their computer; about a third (32.9 percent) say they are unsure whether they would; and 48.0 percent say they would not, according to a recent Burst Media survey (via MarketingVOX) of some 3,300 web users age 18 or older."
If you like survey data, click through for more digits.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
By Jeffrey Goldfarb
LONDON (Reuters) - The online DVD rental market is expected to capture a quarter of all video rental spending in the United States and one-third in Europe by 2009 as consumers get more comfortable paying for the convenience of receiving Hollywood blockbusters in the mail.
Market research firm Screen Digest said on Tuesday that by the end of 2005, 6.3 million subscribers will have spent more than $1 billion renting DVDs over the Internet, with the market seen tripling to almost $3 billion in four years despite the growing threat of video-on-demand services.
"Our cash-rich, time-poor society values convenience very highly, and is willing to pay for it," Screen Digest analyst Angus Wood said.
The U.S. online rental business is led by industry pioneer Netflix, while in Europe the diverse number of players has led to speculation of rampant consolidation.
TiVo and Tai Seng Entertainment are pleased to present RED TROUSERS as part of the TiVo Video Download trial program. To receive RED TROUSERS through TiVo Video Download, your TiVo box must be connected to the Internet via broadband.
I hope this means that the Netflix-Tivo video-on-demand joint development deal is still in the works.
Via FILMMAKER MAGAZINE | BLOG
They are also "the best way to rent movies online", I guess because a simple Google search reveals that the other taglines were taken.
DVDHype is "Canada's First Online DVD Rental Store"
Zip.ca is "Canada's Largest Online DVD Rental Service"
DVD-Rental is simply "Canada's Online DVD Rental Service"
DVDFlix is "Canada's First Choice Online DVD Rental Store"
My blogging mentor Mike K of Hacking Netflix, was featured in a Danbury (CT) News Times article and what they have to say about him is true:
Kaltschnee doesn't treat Netflix with kid gloves. He posts messages from angry customers. He writes about rival companies — Blockbuster, specifically, which recently entered the online rental world.
Still, the folks at Netflix love him.
Neil Hunt, the company's chief product officer, had awfully nice things to say about HackingNetflix when he appeared with Kaltschnee on a CNBC show last month.
"He's extremely well-informed. In fact, we find that the comments posted on Mike's blog and other similar blogs are extremely useful for us to help keep a pulse on what people are saying and thinking out there," Hunt said, according to a transcript of the show posted online.
You can call NetflixFan the "hacking hacking netflix" blog :). Mike inspired me to blog about Netflix, and he's been very helpful to me about it, not being bothered by the competition, but rather linking to me repeatedly. Now that's a nice guy!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
If you are a business owner, could you tell me how a typical business would handle a 56% increase without sacrificing customer service?
On the other hand, this feature may not be necessary, because Netflix keeps all your ratings and queue information for two years after you cancel. Cancelling is like putting your account on hold, because it's all there when you come back.
If you've ever cancelled your account and re-subscribed later, how was the experience? Did you run into any complications, or was it easy?
Monday, November 14, 2005
You can see the original list here, or view my checklist on Listology, in proper order from 1-50, without all the flash and dazzle of the Empire site.
This button is at the bottom of your "view all returned DVDs" page which you access through your Netflix account page. Click it to see your entire rental history at once, rather than receiving it by email request as you did formerly.
Blogger, Netflix Fan commenter, and Web genius Jim Biancolo pointed out this new feature to me on this post.
*Update: if you are logged into Netflix, try this link to view all your returned rentals.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
- Eat vegetables (other than popcorn)
- Read a book
- Clean the house
- Rake leaves
- Inhale the crisp Autumn air and bask in the bright sunshine
Ah, who am I kidding? I'm going to Blockbuster.
I've been wondering what the settlement would cost Netflix. All they say is that, "The Company estimates the total cost of the settlement will be approximately $3,980,000 with the actual cost dependent upon many unknown factors such as the number of current and former Netflix subscribers who will claim the settlement benefit."
If there are 3.5 million current subscribers, and they estimate in the settlement agreement that it affects six million potentially eligible class members, then about 2.5 million could sign up for their one month free, costing Netflix from $9.99 to 17.99 per month per person in revenues and added fulfillment expenses. The top limit would be about $45 million, if every single eligible former subscriber took them up on the offer.
I think it's interesting that only 5 percent download movies. I would have thought that number would be higher, what with all the hype online video on demand is getting.
Netflix operates 37 shipping centers located throughout the United States.
Netflix reaches nearly 92 percent of subscribers with generally one-day delivery.
On average, Netflix ships one million DVDs each day.
Listology has a list of the location of all 37 Netflix distribution centers, based on user input.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The only nits I have to pick with Netflix so far are:[Yes, I sometimes get food at restaurants that is too hot and fresh, too.]
1. the weekends and 1-day shipping mean that if you watch one DVD a day for 3 days in a row, you often won't have a DVD for the 4th day;
I don't know what Netflix can do about this next one, except keep releasing movies:
2. the $18/mo. is slightly higher than I'd like, and will probably mean that I cancel my subscription once I've caught up on all the films I want to see;This is something Netflix could fix:
3. if you report a DVD as damaged and ask for a replacement, there's no way to cancel that replacement, even if won't ship for another 2 days.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
>>If you want to maximize the experience, either remain anonymous or setup a second login (no extra fee) and use it for anything that would tarnish your street cred.
>>Only add friends that truly get your insane taste.
>>Remember that Netflix can be configured to send you anywhere between 1 and 8 DVDs at a time. Ask yourself how many movies you really can digest in any given week, and adjust accordingly. We think the 2 DVD plan is perfect: you have choices, you're rarely left without at least one movie, and you avoid the daunting surplus situation we spoke about earlier.
>>Own your good or bad taste without apologies. You're friends will still love you... well, maybe.
» Use prepaid postage. No trip to the post office.
» Get delivery confirmation. All shipments tracked.
» Shipping is only $3.99, charged to recipient.
» 100% Quality Guarantee
The way it works:
List books you own you'd like to trade.
Select books you want to receive.
Mail your books when requested—automatically get books you select from others in return.
Monday, November 07, 2005
This is a follow-up to two posts I've done about this film. I first posted about how Netflix acquired the film and then how they took it to the SilverDocs film festival.
Friday, November 04, 2005
I have read the entire settlement, and I can find nothing stating the total value of the settlement offer, so it is impossible to determine what percentage of the settlement is going to the lawyers and what is the value of the benefit to subscribers. However, it does say that "There are approximately six million persons who were paying members of Netflix's service prior to January 15, 2005." If the benefit of an extral rental per month were worth just $1.00, that would cost the company six million dollars, which would make the attorneys' share about 43%. I think that the benefit is costing Netflix more than that. If the attorneys' fees and costs are merely 25% of the total cost of the settlement, that would make the total settlement worth over ten million dollars. What I conclude is that we do not have enough information at this time to determine if attorney's fees and costs are excessive in proportion to the value of the benefit to the class members. If you plan to remain a class member and object to the settlement, I suggest making one of your objections this lack of information regarding the total value of the settlement.
As to whether Netflix stands to profit from offering customers a free one month upgrade to their service, that is up to the subscribers. I believe Netflix has the right to assume that subscribers have enough sense to cancel the upgrade before being charged. They also have a right to profit from their subscribers' laziness, if they have made a reasonable effort to inform the subscribers of the costs.
Another reason you may wish to object to the terms of the settlement is that it punishes Netflix too harshly for what is essentially a failure on the part of the consumer to understand the reasonable limits of an "unlimited" service. Neither have I found anything in writing where Netflix "promised" anyone one-day delivery. This is an unjust settlement. I suggest you remain in the class, do not opt out, and object to the terms of the settlement on the grounds that it is excessive, unnecessarily punitive, and not representative of your wishes as a class member.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
You are receiving this notice because you were a paid Netflix member before January 15, 2005. Under a proposed class action settlement, you may be eligible to receive a free benefit from Netflix.
A class action lawsuit entitled Chavez v. Netflix, Inc. was filed in San Francisco Superior Court (case number CGC-04-434884) on September 23, 2004. The lawsuit alleges that Netflix failed to provide "unlimited" DVD rentals and "one day delivery" as promised in its marketing materials. Netflix has denied any wrongdoing or liability. The parties have reached a settlement that they believe is in the best interests of the company and its subscribers.
Netflix will provide eligible subscribers with the benefit described below, if the settlement is approved by the Court.
Current Netflix Members: If you enrolled in a paid membership before January 15, 2005 and were a member on October 19, 2005, you are eligible to receive a free one-month upgrade in service level. For example, if you are on the 3 DVDs at-a-time program, you will be upgraded to the 4 DVDs at-a-time program for one month. There will be no price increase during the upgraded month. (If you cancel your membership after October 19, 2005 and before you receive the upgrade, you will have to rejoin to get the upgrade.)
Former Netflix Members: If you enrolled in a paid membership before January 15, 2005 but were not a member on October 19, 2005, you are eligible to receive a free one-month Netflix membership on your choice of the 1, 2 or 3 DVDs at-a-time unlimited program. (If you rejoin after October 19, 2005 but before you receive the free one-month membership, you will receive a credit for the free month when it becomes available.)
These benefits will be provided after the Effective Date as defined in the Settlement Agreement. Your eligibility for the benefits is based on your membership status as of October 19, 2005. The full Settlement Agreement is available for review at www.netflixsettlement.com.
You have four options to respond to the proposed settlement. You have until December 28, 2005 to make your decision:
Option 1. Sign Up For The Benefit As Part Of The Settlement
To receive the benefit, you must complete the online registration process no later than February 17, 2006, at www.netflixsettlement.com. By signing up for the benefit, you waive your right to bring a separate lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement found at www.netflixsettlement.com).
Option 2. Do Nothing
If you do not wish to receive the benefit, do nothing. You will not receive the benefit but will remain a Class Member. You therefore waive your right to bring a separate lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims.
Option 3. Exclude Yourself From the Class
To exclude yourself from the class, you must mail a letter by December 28, 2005. By excluding yourself, you preserve your right to bring a lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims. However, you will not get the benefit described above.
Option 4. Make An Objection To The Settlement In Court
To object to the settlement, you must file legal papers in the San Francisco Superior Court by January 5, 2006.
To receive your benefit, you must register by February 17, 2006 as described above in Option 1. You will not receive any other reminders to register for the benefit. If you have registered for the benefit and your eligibility is confirmed, then you will be provided additional information by email following the Effective Date as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
After the benefit period ends, the new or upgraded level of service will continue automatically (following an email reminder) and you will be billed accordingly, unless you cancel or modify your subscription. You can cancel or modify your subscription at any time.
To get more information about the settlement and procedures, and to take options 1, 3 or 4, visit www.netflixsettlement.com.
(c)1997-2005 Netflix, Inc. 970 University Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95032
This message was mailed to [email@example.com]
I haven't decided what I'll do yet. I may opt out, because I think it is a frivolous lawsuit and a contemptible exploitation of the class by unprincipled lawyers. I have been on a jury for a Federal court in a civil action, so I understand that a lawsuit like this could have taken weeks to try, costing the court and both parties a great deal of time and money. The negative publicity would have been damaging. Netflix is doing what they can to control the damage. A lawsuit like this is a type of extortion, forcing Netflix to pay up or take an even larger hit.
I believe Netflix has done nothing wrong, and that reasonable subscribers had reasonable expectations regarding the terms and what Netflix meant by "unlimited." Reasonable people know what to expect for $17.99.
Netflix always stated clearly that "most subscribers" could expect "usually one-day delivery". Since I understand the English language and basic logic, that tells me that some subscribers would NOT receive one-day delivery, and those that do receive one-day delivery would experience times when they would not.
In this society, you are expected to use good judgment and accept the consequences of your own decisions, unless you can persuade a lawyer to sue.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Australia has BigPond Movies (Fetchmemovies), Homescreen, and Quickflix
Canada has Zip.ca.
For France, there's Glowria and Cinehome.
In Germany, they have Frisbi and Netlieh.
For each one I find, another one springs up. I'm sure there are lots more. Please post in the comments if you know of other online DVD rental delivery services outside of the U.S. Just because I link to a business on this blog does not mean that I guarantee it is legitimate.