In which Netflix caves to stupidity

Yesterday, Netflix signed a deal with Warner Brothers to delay renting new releases for 28 days. In exchange, Netflix will get a better deal on buying all the movies and get more movies for streaming (which seems to be the only good part of the deal).

As a soon-to-be-former Netflix customer, this annoys me. Do I rent a ton of new release Warner Brothers movies? No. Will the delay really affect me? Probably not. So why does it really make me mad. Because of the stupidity of Warner Brothers. They are trying to recapture the glory days of DVD. Those glory days that were really only two or three years ago. DVD sales took a massive nose-dive in 2009.

They think by taking away cheap rental options, we’ll have to go buy a shiny new copy of the DVD for $20 or so. You know why this isn’t going to happen? If the recession taught us one thing it’s that we can’t afford to buy copies of every movie released. And this is coming from a guy who owns 600+ DVDs. Last year I bought maybe five DVDs total. The rest I rented through Netflix. Beyond money, people are ok with not buying as many movies for two reasons. One, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy DVDs anymore. DVD is being replaced by Blu-Ray, which will itself soon be replaced by downloadable and streaming movies.

The other reason is most movies suck. Of the hundreds I own, there are a few stinkers. In this new age of frugality, can you really afford to spend $20 for a copy of Fried Green Tomatoes 2: Fried Harder, just hoping it’s good? I think not.

Netflix, you should be ashamed. You can talk all day long about long-term benefits, you didn’t do your customers any favors today. Warner Brothers, just accept that people aren’t going to spend more money on movies no matter how much you twist their arms. Also, stop making such crap films.

If you don’t have the stomach for corporate stupidity like this, but still want affordable rentals, I highly recommend RedBox.

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