Netflix: Why the Hate?

I am working from home today.  That means I get to do work while wearing my pajamas.  And who doesn’t enjoy doing work in their pajamas?

I also get to have the TV on as background noise.  Currently, I am watching the latest selection from my Netflix queue: Season one of the TV show Fringe.

I’m only on the second disc, but so far, I’m liking Fringe.  I know a lot of people wrote it off as “X-Files ripoff” when it first aired.  And since it involves a government agent investigating supernatural phenomena, I suppose that’s only a natural comparison.

But the show seems to be interesting enough so far.  Unfortunately, since the show has been on for several seasons, I already know some key plot points ahead of time, but hopefully that won’t be detrimental to my enjoyment.

Speaking of Netflix, I read that since their price hike/Kwikster debacle, their customer base has dropped significantly, and the company’s financial outlook isn’t looking too great.

This is not a huge surprise.  People are not usually fans of being asked to pay more for things than they are used to.  Any time a company raises prices, they run the risk of losing customers.

But the main question I have is: Why does everyone seem so happy about Netflix’s struggles.

Doesn’t everyone like Netflix?  Wasn’t this a product that many of used and enjoyed?  Are we all so resentful of big companies that we can’t help but feel happiness when they have problems?  Even if these are companies that we actually like?

It’s one thing to mock companies that are slow to adjust to a changing world and as a result get left behind by the public.  Companies like Borders and Blockbuster were slow to recognize how their customer base was evolving, and as a result, they got surpassed by newer, more innovative companies like Netflix.

But does a company that struggles due to being ahead of its time deserve the same mockery?

Instead of risking that their business model would become outdated, Netflix took proactive steps to adapt.  They are trying to focus more on their online streaming content, and de-emphasize mailing DVDs to customers.  It’s almost a certainty that the American viewer will eventually shift from getting content via DVDs to getting it by online streaming.  So doesn’t it make sense for Netflix to stake an early claim to the streaming market?

Netflix’s problem seems to be that they acted too soon, and forced the changes down the throats of a customer base which wasn’t quite ready.  The American public likes to decide when we want to shift paradigms.  We aren’t big on having companies tell us when it is time to shift.

It certainly didn’t help that their execution of these changes were performed rather inelegantly.  Instead of hitting the customers with a price increase and a new business model all at once, it should have been done at a slower rate.

And by calling the DVD mailing service Kwikster, they almost seemed to be encouraging ridicule.  Kwikster?  Really?  That’s the best name you could come up with?

Those points aside, I still don’t see why people seem so happy about Netflix’s problems?  As a people, do we just like seeing people fail?

I guess so.


About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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