When Netflix announced their new pricing plans this week, it was as if they'd kicked a baby. Twitter, Facebook, and even the desolate Google+ ignited as thousands cried out in horror: "How dare you raise your prices!" "I'm cancelling my subscription!" and the terseless "Netflix is making their service more "convenient" by charging me $5 more a month. Thanks a lot."
That last one looks familiar. I think I wrote that. On my Facebook.
On one hand, there was jubilation. Those who'd never used streaming rejoiced in no longer having to pay for it. On the other hand, those of us who regularly partake of both saw dramatic price increases.
Insane! Mine went up 8,000%!!!1!1!!!! Check my math. It was $17.99 now it's $22.98. That's cause for apoplexy, right?
As fast as their fingers could type, bloggers latched on like tweens to Twilight. The skill it takes to create a web post consisting merely of what other people have written was matched in its creative vacuousness only by the typical anility of the larger media outlets. If you've written a article quoting bloggers quoting their Facebook friends, quit your job.
Soon everyone was talking about how "evil" Netflix was to do such a thing. How could they do this "to me." Sorry? What now? Every corporation is going to do everything it can to make more profit, largely at your and everyone else's expense. If you don't think that, you have a breed of optimism worth medicating or emulating, I'm not sure which.
But enough. Because let's get down to it, it's not that Netflix "deserves" to raise their rates, or some other apologist nonsense. It's not even how horribly they bungled this obvious customer relations nightmare (and they bungled it with almost adorable enthusiasm, like a puppy sprinting into a storm door).
It's about this: Netflix is still a great deal.
I'm not an idiot (debatable), so of course I don't like paying more for what I'm already getting. But when it comes down to it, I feel I'm getting $23 a month of entertainment, easily. I watch Netflix content at least as much as U-verse, and I'm paying $100 a month for that. Movies at the Arclight are $16 if you go while normal people are working. That breaks down to $8 an hour of entertainment. How many hours do you watch Netflix? I, for one, watch way more than 3 hours a month.
Then there are plenty of quiet greenhorns who've never used streaming and are happy to not pay for it (serious though, you're missing out, but whatever). They're likely paying less than they were before.
Let me be clear, Netflix did a big thing badly, and came out the other side looking like a bunch of dicks. But even for those of us that got screwed the worst, is it really that big of an issue? Is it worth spending even 140 characters on, wasting the eyeball time of hapless Twitterers (though admittedly, I've spent 2,886 so far). I understand some people saw their rates go up by staggering percentages... on paper. But really, we're just talking about a few dollars a month. It sucks, but come on people.
In the end, Netflix has a ton of entertainment available, and the discs-by-mail concept is still brilliant. I'd rather pay $18, but $23 is fine. Let's save our collective ire for something that really matters, like how they keep dropping TV shows from streaming when I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN SERIES.
Seriously, Netflix, I hate you. Here's my $23.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
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