Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Netflix

I signed up for Netflix today. For the first time. Hey, you're talking to a guy who didn't get a cell phone until 2003 or an iPod until 2005, so I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of technology.

As those of you who subscribe to Netflix know, the are several different subscription plans. The one I signed up for allows you to rent one movie at a time, with unlimited monthly rentals, and costs $8.99 per month. The far more popular option allows you to rent two movies at a time and costs $13.99 per month, which admittedly is a slightly better price-per-rented dvd.

Once you allow for the time it takes the dvds to travel by mail, I'm guessing that I could watch seven or eight movies a month on my current plan. If I had signed up for the two-discs-at-a-time plan, I could watch perhaps 15-20 movies a month (because I could always have one at home while the other was in transit). Still, in my pre-Netflix existence I watch at most two or three dvds per month, so my current plan seems generous.

How many individuals watch so many dvds that they can't be satisfied with the one-disc-at-a-time plan? Is this the cinematic equivalent of the way that soda companies now sell soft drinks in those plastic 16 ounce bottles for $1.25 instead of in 12 ounce cans for $1.00? Its a better price-per-ounce for the consumer, but does anybody really need those extra four ounces? Before they popularized the 16 ounce bottle, were people unsatisfied with their 12 ounce cans? Probably not.

I'm rambling now. It just seems kind of ridiculous to me that there are people out there who can watch more than 10 movies a month and still work a full-time job, even if watching movies is their favorite pastime.

For the record, my first queue includes the following: WALL-E, Gone Baby Gone, Rachel Getting Married, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, The Fog of War, Brokeback Mountain, Season 4 of The Wire (discs 3 and 4), and the BBC mini-series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (starring Alec Guiness and based on the John Le Carre novel of the same name.)


Fletch said...

I feel like anything I say here might come across as defensive, but...

You leave out that the far most popular Netflix option is the unlimited 3-at-a-time for $17.99. This is what I have, and I find it quite easy to make it through 12-20 movies a month, depending on what is on my queue and what else I am doing.

Personally, I find it much more satisfying to come home and watch an hour and a half of a movie that I want to see (while I read or surf the internet) than try to find something on TV. It doesn't hurt that I've found my interest in the NBA waning this season.

For me, its a question of choice. With 3 movies, there's always something that I'd be happy to watch at home. Or if I want to have a movie night with the little lady, we can easily plow through two movies.

Granted, I only work a 35 hour work week...

Wade Garrett said...

Interesting points. When I wrote this post, I was thinking of all of my friends who have the 3-at-one-time plans, and who then have the 3 dvds sit around for a week or so before they get around to watching them. If you watch one, then send it right back, you can get through a lot of movies in a month on the one-movie-at-a-time plan.

But you're right - if you live with someone and have stay-at-home movie dates, you can easily get through a couple of dvds in a night. My little lady tends to fall asleep after about an hour, so even a single movie is a bit of a challenge for us sometimes.

Ellen said...

I have the 2-at-a-time plan, although I've been thinking about downsizing because the Watch Instantly option is so captivating.

I have separate queue for TV shows on DVD, so at any given time I usually have one movie and a disc of a TV show out -- except for the last few months as I've been catching up on Oscar contenders, so have been watching more movies and fewer shows. I don't have cable either, which is how I justify the slightly more expensive plan.

John said...

don't forget to take advantage of the unlimited number of movies you can watch through the Netflix website. I get the unlimited per month/one at a time, but I supplement a good deal with the online offerings since the discs end up sitting around for a week or so.

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