Entries Tagged as 'Netflix'

What Netflix Needs To Do To Progress Further

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I have both supported, and spoke highly of Netflix.  I’ve also ripped them to shreds when I found their business decisions to be absolutely horrible, and pulled my money as an investor when it started to do things that was not along this side of visionary.  So with the latest announcement of canning the split business scenario, I thought… maybe they’re finally understanding again.  Regardless, Reed Hastings is on the right track although his means to the end was not exactly the best of methods.   So this is what I propose that he starts doing if he’s indeed still pushing for settling on Netflix being a streaming business.

  1. Re-position internal organizations
    Internally, you’ll start splitting your company into two divisions.  One is DVD, one is streaming.  Both would have online teams that work together, but ultimately your sales, metrics, and growth will be separated out.   Timeline? 1-2 years.  I have yet to participate in a major company-wide re-organization that has never taken at least 12-18 months.
  2. Customer service needs to get back on par
    Netflix as a company took their reputation and basically threw it out the window.  That’s a lot of reputation when you consider that it was chucked in three months and the company has been around since 1997.   Get back to doing what you were doing best, which was handling customer service well and providing for those that bring you revenue.   Don’t forget that while people are just means to end, your company is also in the service business.  So service.
  3. Transparency
    I am still amazed that there are people out there that don’t understand that the best online businesses are the ones that have such deep linked inner-workings that have absolutely no ties to what the customer interacts with and how it’s done.  Amazon is a great example of this.  From a consumer standpoint, their website is a shopping area and 2-days later, a product arrives.  But the amount of logistics that went into making all of that happen behind the scenes?  Vast.  AND really none of the consumer’s business.  The fact is that all of this and expansions is made possible because of transparency.  With the Qwikster model, there was absolutely no transparency, and you took a brand and threw it out the window.  Once a business operates in a transparent function, it makes changing the consumer end very simple.  You could sell the online division, or dvd rental without batting an eye since the buyers can see that it can both operate seamlessly or by itself.  That makes your company all the more attractive.
  4. Improve Online UX
    So far, Netflix keeps changing up their UX, but their applications lag behind sometimes and they don’t really improve.  For example, they took away the DVD queues on the iPad app, but that’s something that I want to have access to when I use your “services”.  Which is what I pay for.   I don’t just pay for half of it so don’t just show me half.   That sort of interfacing is an important aspect of both how the consumer feels about your services and how easy it is to work.
  5. Improve streaming
    With more and more content, the price increase obviously is going back into the system. But, I have still yet to see a way to choose different language tracks in foreign films.  I also have yet to see DVD previews and all sorts of other things that could be on a streaming service.  This needs to improve if you wish people to take your streaming business model seriously.
  6. Quit thinking your customers are complete idiots
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the last three months should be a complete eye-opener.  You treated your customers as complete dolts, and then expected them to understand the business and why it was needed.  Then you followed up the bad scenario with another completely terrible scenario.  What may be a good business decision still has to be sold to the shareholders just like any other political message.  Note that the best politicians are great salesmen.   That’s because they can sell you a dream that in reality is a piece of rock.  In the same manner, you need to sell your business models instead of just throwing it out and letting the pieces land where they may.
Customers of services and products do their talking with their feet.  And at the end of the day, especially in bad economics, realize that your product or service is an entertainment expense, not a necessity.   This in itself is a consideration of how you set up and execute the business.   When you’re finished with understanding that (of which I’m not sure what happened in the last three months that you forgot when you remembered the last decade), you’ll be able to continue down the same road that you’ve been trying to go down.  Only then, will you have all the pieces in place to pull off what you were trying to accomplish here in 2011.
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Open Letter to Netflix: Why I Sold Netflix and Support Them No Longer As a Shareholder

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun... So as of opening bell, I’ll probably no longer be a shareholder of Netflix.   It’s been a good run, but in my opinion, Reed Hastings has finally gone off the deep end when it comes to leading his company.  It’s one thing to make one mistake.  But to follow it up with an entirely different one is complete corporate suicide.

Let’s first preface this with the fact that I’ve been supporting the business since June of 2003. Yes, I have had my hands in this awesome business due to the fact that they just knew what the hell the customer wanted and provided it. And it rocked. Asian films, anime, you name it, they had it. And their customer service was completely and utterly awesome. The first time they had credited me for something that I didn’t even expect to happen. And this continued on for years whenever THEY made a mistake. This is how you run a company.

Then the price hike came. There have been others, but older customers always got grandfathered in under their old plan. Not with this hike though. No, this one had no explanation, no reasoning, just… hey, we’re going to up the price because we feel that streaming is just as good as DVD distribution. I’ll say that using their streaming, it’s as good as 2003 Netflix but not as good as current, especially the new releases. Regardless, the price was the same for streaming as it was for DVDs. Big mistake number one.

So Sunday night, Reed Hastings committed big mistake number two. He wrote all of this apologetic stuff that no one really cares about since their stock price tumbled due to subscriber loss and he stopped short of making amends for the price hike. Everything he said was true, as far as the reasoning for the price hikes, but he didn’t do what every other customer service driven company does. He didn’t appease the customers. Instead, he split the company in two so that Qwikster will be the DVD distribution (owned by Netflix still) and Netflix will concentrate on streaming only.

The key screw up here? CUSTOMER usability. If you’re getting into a streaming only business, that’s fine. But one key thing about user experience in the Internet world is interoperability behind the scenes. Believe me, I deal with it every day with my own accounting software company. The key to everything is always the fact that the customer should NEVER… EVER… have to sign into multiple items, or have to do a two stop shop, just because you think it’s a brilliant move. Everything should be integrated on the forefront and the operations behind the scenes are split into two entities. I don’t care how you do it, via API, or not, but two different billings and sites will kill you if people looked to your integrated area for use before. Operationally, I can understand the split. But what has been reported is that it’s going to be two different sites.

I’m sorry, buddy, but that was the last straw. Currently I’m looking to see if that invested money can be put to good use in Coinstar owned Redbox. Maybe some other internet IPO will come along and we’ll take a look at that. But as a long time customer, and supporter, the moves being made are going to placate your company for months to come. You said that you “slid into arrogance based upon past success” but finally saw the light. I hate to break it to you but the rest of your email reminded me of my mother when I was a child whom told me what I wanted to hear and said that I had a choice in the matter, but at the very end, threw in an argument that completely contradicted the entire hour of time she had spent. So, you’re not really thinking about us, are you? You’re thinking about how you can get us, and Wall Street off your back about all of this. And I’m telling you that customer service and Wall Street go hand in hand. Oh well, maybe you’ll see the light. Maybe you’ll understand finally that there were a number of things at play that propelled Netflix into stardom and kept it there. It wasn’t the streaming idea, nor DVD releases. It was the fact that you guys did it seamlessly and had awesome service. Put those two things in any business, and they’ll still be rock solid. Anyhow, if you ever want to change things up, just look me up.

Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally had the chance to watch this movie off of Netflixicon streaming in HD, and I have to say…

What the heck was I thinking in waiting so long??

This movie is absolutely fantastic and one of those that really don’t give away the ending until probably closer to the end. Which I appreciate since there are too many predictable movies out there. Jim Carrey plays Joel, whom is having his memory erased because his girlfriend had her memory erased of him. While he’s in the middle of this process, he realizes that he doesn’t want to lose her and tries frantically to save any memory of her.

What was absolutely great with this movie, and I made the connection here with Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me, is that it really seems that the comedic actors have a lot of depth when it comes to acting abilities. Even Jamie Fox, whom has had a multitude of serious roles has shown that while they all started in comedy, they can play serious parts extremely well and that there is more to it than one-sided acting.

The movie itself was fantastic and I urge anyone that likes drama to watch it, especially if they have Roku box. If you don’t have one, I would seriously advise you to look into getting one since it increases your Netflix account without any further cost outside the initial $99USD. In any case? Watch the movie. Yar.

Netflix Customer Service Wows Me Again


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What can I say. Netflixicon continues to wow me with their automated customer service. Now, granted, this could be because I’ve been with them since … well, forever. In any case, it never ceases to amaze me that they just send me extra movies, or gifts (in the form of refunds) because of something that they mishandled or just think that it’s taking too long for the turn-around. In fact, I think this is the first time that their customer service has sent me an extra DVD due to the fact that it would take a bit for it to get here.

Don’t ask me why, but it makes me happy to support a company that actually thinks about the fact that I’m not made of money, and there are little things you can do that can make a person happy with your service. This is one of them. Definitely will have to take a page from their customer service book and apply it in my own accounting software business.

Movie Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Having never seen the original, I have to say that I can’t make the comparison between the original and this version. So it’s actually lost on me when critics say that the original was better.

But I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The plot basically is about how the human race is destroying Earth and aliens come to save Earth because it’s on the brink of destruction. But only on the brink of destruction can we save ourselves and evolve further to and not be so self-absorbed. Interestingly enough, this plot was made way before there was any real push for environmentalism, so I’m not certain how much it follows the original. If it does, then it was definitely before its time.

All of the acting is pretty well done and I have to admit that the one that struck me was actually Jaden Smith. He was such a rebellious step-son in the movie, that you feel like he needed some severe discipline every time he opened his mouth. Which really drives home that there’s definitely acting in his blood considering his parents. A definite upcoming star.

If you’ve never seen the original or am looking for a pretty decent science fiction film, give The Day the Earth Stood Still a try. If you’re not a Reeves fan though, it will definitely strike you as one of those same-ole-face that he does in many of his more despondent characters.

Movie Review: Exiled

Booted up my Roku and streamed Exiled in HD last night. And I have to say that it was not only a wonderful experience, but the film itself was also fantastic.

What was wonderful about this movie is that while it was your typical asian Triad/gangster movie, the gun battles were very subtle in the fact that there was not a lot of waving around and it was very smooth. There was a lot more focus on the actors faces and expressions which made it more dramatic and focusing the action as more of a integral secondary characterization. The entirety of the movie wasn’t difficult to predict if you’ve watched enough of the big star Triad films with names such as Simon Yam and Anthony Wong.

The movie’s actual story basically focused on a group of five individuals that grew up together in a gang, and how they interacted after two of them decided to betray the gang and their relationship with one another. It actually was refreshing also to see a foreign film in Cantonese that was subtitled and streaming directly in HD. THis needs to be provided more often by the service providers and allow for original language penetration. Just a personal pet peeve but I’m not super fond of dubbed voicing since it’s a distraction and sometimes the dubbed voice is worse than the original and just reading subtitles.

It’s also interesting to note that there is one scene that there is an actual depiction of a Triad agreement handshake. Due to this fact alone, this film was rated Category III in Hong Kong, which is the equivalent of NC17 in the States because no children under the age of 18 are allowed to watch the film for Category III ratings. This film however was rated R in the States.

I have to say that this film was done very well from script to acting to directing. I definitely would recommend anyone that has a Roku player to add it to their queue, and if not, to rent or buy it. If you love mafia and Asian gangster type films, you’ll love Exiled.

Movie Review: Transporter 3

Jason, Jason. I have to say that Jason Statham is typecast really well into an action role. I mean, if you look at all of his films from the Transporter series to War, the guy is a regular bad ass. With his typical sculpted muscles that make women tear up and his rough British voice really reminds me of the young Bruce Willis in Die Hard without quite the salary. Regardless, Statham does a wonderful job with this series.

I have to say that while I love the great vehicles (Audi’s A8), and the car chases are spectacular, after a while the action is repetitive of the previous movies. Not that I didn’t mind it, but the only thing different in this one was a rare BMX scene that I wasn’t sure if Jason actually did the stunts for. The gal in the film itself was a bit more difficult to understand and while she was a pretty long legged redhead, it still just didn’t quite hold your attention. At the end, I kept wondering if she was underaged in the movie due to a photograph that was shown of her later on and if they were depicting her in college, why they kept showing the drugs and drinking which is really a bad influence even though that’s what happens in places like Ibiza (which apparently where this girl was before she got abducted).

If you like Statham, and you’re looking for a quick action flick, I would definitely recommend Transporter 3. But as with most action flicks, you have to suspend disbelief due to the sensationalism of transporters.

Anime Review: Black Blood Brothers

Recently, I had the opportunity to finish the Black Blood Brothers: Box Set and I have to say that while it’s not in my top tier of favorite animes, it definitely ranks high up there in the next tier. This vampire based anime talks about how vampires and humans have set aside their differences and lived peacefully in a place called The Special Zone. There is a barrier that holds any vampire away from this area unless invited by a human being that is from here. Yet, there is a rogue clan of vampires called the Kowloon Children that are out to basically wipe both vampires and humans from existence. Think of them kind of like the infectious guy from Blade II.

So the point is that there is an older more chivalrous school of vampires called the Old Bloods, that do everything in the way of the old. They are the most powerful, but they also bound by rules and regulations that determine how they fit into society and how they judge are to be judged. There are multiple vampire houses like the Sei house, the Warlock house, and the Sage house and in the middle is a human controlled “Company” that is the neutral party. The entire political structure is actually pretty simplistic although in the anime, you soon realize that there is a public face of peace while the underlying foundation shows a darker and more sinister side.

The entire story arc is about Jiro Mochizuki, the Silver Blade, or Kinslayer, a name that was given to him after the Hong Kong Crusade ten years prior due to him defeating the Kowloon King and the majority of the Kowloon Children. It’s also about acceptance, and how two cultures come to see one another and how there was intermediaries that helped smooth things over to make a place for all people, vampire and human alike.

I personally found this story to be fairly well thought out although the depth wasn’t as much as GitS or FMA. What’s also interesting is that the end seemed to come rather quickly but left it open for a second season. Especially with how it left it open, it wouldn’t surprise me if another publisher would have picked up this story arc and ran with it again.

Anime Review: Darker Than Black


So here I’ve been watching a new anime series called Darker Than Black. While most studios are hit and miss, anything that’s touched by Bones seems to be fantastic and when you can afford to get Yoko Kanno to do the music, it’s probably one of the better animes out there.
So knowing all of this, the standard is set higher. Which also means that there’s a lot more detail that a reviewer pays attention to since it’s no “ordinary” anime.
Thankfully, Darker Than Black doesn’t have that issue at all. Years ago, the stars in the sky were wiped out by a false “sky” of sorts due to the appearance of an unknown body within Tokyo called Hell’s Gate. In this “sky”, stars appeared that correspond to individuals that have fantastic powers that are used to kill with a price. The story arc revolves around Hei (黒, Chinese: Black) whom acts like a chinese student as his cover but is actually a Contractor for the Syndicate known as “The Black Reaper”. While every other contractor seems to have a price, he alone seems to be able to move able easily and can control electricity without having paid any price (I actually have some thoughts about this, but they’re not justified thoughts). Pay attention to his appetite. Perhaps that’s his price?
All the while, there are other contractors out looking for him, British intelligence contractors called November 11 are out for him and an unknown there, and he doesn’t exactly know where the Tokyo superintendent that is in charge of dealing with contractors stands.
There really isn’t too much currently on why he’s searching for his sister whom he lost in an implosion at the South American gate (whom I assume is the name for white) and there’s probably some significance to the color choices. I also really love the fact that this is one of the few times that anime is using Chinese characters for characters, which is kind of neat.
If you’re a big fan of assassin type storylines with super powers, I think that you’d definitely like DTB.

Movie Review: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

One of my favorite series growing up has always been Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and right there as a close contender was C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.
So it was little surprise when Peter Jackson pulled off the amazing LoTR series that there would be any surprise Narnia wasn’t far behind. And overall, it was a great story done very well.
Unfortunately, this second book in the chronological order was good, but a bit disappointing from the first movie. Perhaps it was the battle scenes that just were not as epic, or something. It wasn’t the actors and actresses since they proved that it was a worthy series to be made from the first book-to-movie transformation.
In any case, this is still a series that I would love to collect, but from what I’ve heard, they’re not making another one since it didn’t meet expectations for the box office. Which is a sad fate for a series since those characters fit in so well and you can only sign in youth acting only once in your lifetime (like the way they have it with the Harry Potter series).
I still whole-heartedly recommend watching this beautiful story if you have children and they’ve read or are reading the books in chronological order. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is one of the few timeless stories that will continue to woo our young in the future.