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Netflix Says People Watch Same Amount of Movies Regardless of Perceived Quality or Depth (news.com.au) 162

Two of the most common issues people have with Netflix is: the movie catalog is shrinking, and the quality of the movies aren't that great anymore. Netflix says it is aware of those issues, and it thinks, in reality, those factors don't really matter much as people end up watching the same amount of movies as they always have. From a report:According to the Netflix exec, subscribers spend about the same time watching movies on the service regardless of the depth or perceived quality of the movie library. "No matter what, we end up with about one-third of our watching being movies," he told the audience. Mr Sarandos cited two contrasting examples of the United States and Canada as proof of such behavior. In Canada, Netflix has five major deals with movie studios to use their content while in the US the company basically has none, with the exception of the recently signed Disney deal. Despite US subscribers having far less access to movies from big studios, both countries spend roughly the same proportion of their time on the service watching movies. Netflix believes that by the time many blockbuster movies make it onto the platform -- many months after being released in the cinema -- a majority of fans have already seen them. "If you were passionate (about a movie), you've already seen it," he said.
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Netflix Says People Watch Same Amount of Movies Regardless of Perceived Quality or Depth

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  • I beg to differ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @10:46AM (#53432307)

    I havent watched anything on netflix in weeks precisely because I cant find anything with any quality or depth.

    Am strongly considering cancelling my subscription.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The Netflix DVD service used to be famed for including almost every movie ever made. When its big switch to streaming was stymied by licensing squabbles, I was one of many subscribers who stayed with the DVD service because of its depth. I have no problem waiting a month or two for new releases when so much older content is still available. But lately, I get the impression that worn-out DVDs are not being replaced as Netflix concludes that a somewhat better streaming selection means no more need to keep up

      • If Netflix were intelligent, they'd see the DVD service as an important negotiating ploy to keep their licensing costs reasonable.

      • I get the impression that worn-out DVDs are not being replaced

        I ultimately cancelled the service. Not because they didn't have variety --- they did --- but because more and more of the discs were unplayable due to scratches and abuse. Sometimes we needed to return a video two or three times for being unplayable.

        The thing about those DVDs is that they cannot be (legitimately) replaced. They had a single press run, maybe two or three runs if they were popular, and that's it.

        • more and more of the discs were unplayable due to scratches and abuse.

          Try rubbing it with toothpaste. Toothpaste contains a very fine abrasive that can be used to polish the polycarbonate surface of a DVD.

          • That only works if the damage was on the plastic side of the disc. Quite a few we received had issues on the reflective side, including a few that had human teeth marks on the side, and others with small points that may have been dog teeth or something.

            That is in addition to scratches, grooves, and the occasional toothbrush scrub marks on the thick plastic side.

        • by bored ( 40072 )

          I've gotten bluray's that looked like someone tried to sand them down. Its darn near impossible to scratch bluray (and some DVDs like the imation forcefield ones, but I've never seen a commercial DVD with a coating) yet netflix still ships them out...

          More on topic, the whole point for making "backups" is to survive loss of the original media. Why isn't it legal to replace a damaged disk with a copy?

      • I actually canceled my Netflix streaming account a couple years ago, and went DVD-only. Then about 6 months ago, I realized that I was spending about $3/movie that way. I switched to VidAngel at that time, and have been thrilled with the service. $1 rentals, streamed, and with a full selection of all the latest studio hits. Only drawback is that the first movie cost $20.
        And yeah, this is a slashvertisement; if you access via this link [vidangel.com], I get a free movie if you sign up. If you don't want to give me a
    • But that's probably it.

      Most people have some time when they want to watch TV. While there's something on Netflix suitable they'll stay. But as soon as there isn't anything they'll look for alternatives and cancel their subscription.

      It's that ages old beancounter issue. Making small "cost cutting" measures doesn't immediately lose you customers and increases your profits but it a) makes it harder to attract new customers, b) makes it more likely that regular customers will try alternatives and c) eventually

      • Re:I beg to differ (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:02AM (#53432459)

        Agreed.... I think a lot of people watch stuff they wouldn't otherwise because they have some free time and say "let's watch a movie." Then, instead of picking something they really want, they look at what's available on Netflix and choose what they hope is the best option.

        When that best option turns out to be a pretty crappy movie, time and time again, it will cost Netflix customers in the long run.

        Indeed, bean counters are more focused on what will get them the next bonus than what will actually help the company in the long run.

      • Right, so their plan is to get people to subscribe and stay subscribed because they're addicted to Netflix' original content. They don't have to share profits on those, so, as long as they continue to be well-regarded, they pretty much have no incentive to work out deals with the movie studios. If they haven't already, they're gonna need to start working out year-long subscription discounts, or else, if this trend continues, people might only subscribe during months when their favorite series is released, b
      • Re:I beg to differ (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @02:16PM (#53434309)

        On smoggy days, people breathe just as much as on clear days.
        So the obvious conclusion is that people don't care about air quality.

    • And statistics begs to point out that one special-snowflake outlier doesn't make the conclusion worthless.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        And statistics begs to point out that one special-snowflake outlier doesn't make the conclusion worthless.

        It's not one outlier. They're analyzing the data wrong.

        In my personal experience, I ran out of new movies to watch on Netflix after a few months, and began binge watching TV shows because there weren't enough movies on my list to be worth the hassle. I have watched approximately zero movies in the last year. This experience is echoed by everyone I've talked to.

        So when they say that users watch about

    • Re:I beg to differ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @12:12PM (#53433085)

      I havent watched anything on netflix in weeks precisely because I cant find anything with any quality or depth.

      Am strongly considering cancelling my subscription.

      I dropped my Netflix subscription three years ago when they stopped getting new movies (dropped contracts with major movie studios). I enjoy movies and have no interest in watching old TV series.

      This study is poor. They are evaluating their current customer base. The problem with this is that the majority of movie fans have already left the service. What this means is that the majority using it today do so to watch TV shows and original content. The only reason why they use Netflix for movies is simply convenience.

      In other words, it shows Netflix who their current customers are but not the potential market. It's like Tesla saying that trucks are not needed beause all of their customers drive cars...

      • I studied myself, and noticed the same thing: that my choices were a direct function of the quality of goods available. So I fired all the low quality options (and haven't looked back).

        Also, if there's a giant bag of potato chips in the house, my odds of cooking a healthy meal go down by about 50%. So I fired the chips, too.

        Netflix is right: all lizard brains are created equal.

    • The other day my wife and I realized the same thing---we hardly watch Netflix anymore and we are considering cancelling it altogether.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      I cancelled my sub several months ago and haven't regretted it one bit.

      Netflix has made the decision to go full-bore on original content and completely neglect their back catalog, and that's fine. But the harsh fact is that they will never be able to produce enough original content to make it worthwhile keep subbing for that alone. Even HBO, whose original content is much better and more consistent, still has to offer a good catalog of movies and other content to justify a monthly subscription. And Netflix'

    • You proved my principle: Quality and depth-of-selection brings in subscribers and keeps them. Once subscribed, one may use the TV audience model where ppl will watch the "least worst" show or movie available.

      This new policy will cap their subscriber numbers, as those who leave will be replaced, more or less, only by those newcomers who will be attracted by fewer and lower-rated movies.

    • Since there is no reward for being a long term subscriber and all discounts are for being "new"... this isn't a bad idea.
    • I'm also thinking of cancelling Netflix streaming. I have been spending far more time watching Hulu and Crackle and Amazon Prime since Netflix's catalog has really started to suck.

  • by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @10:46AM (#53432311)

    This ala carte thing is really backfiring - as much as I dislike Comcast, there is something to be said for getting everything in one bill. When you add up netflix, HBOgo, hulu, CBS, Amazon, and your choice of Directv NOW, Playstation TV, or that Dish/sling offering plus a decent internet connection, its already more than the tv+net package from the cable company and the content we want constantly disappears or has some goofy restriction placed on it. The media companies are making this WORSE...

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      I think it isn't ala-carte enough.
      I don't have any of those subscriptions because there are only a few shows I'd like to watch.
      If they offered separate "mini" subscriptions for only those shows, I'd probably do so.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > If they offered separate "mini" subscriptions for only those shows, I'd probably do so.

        They do. Its called itunes (and amazon prime).
        But are you willing to pay a couple of dollars per episode?
        You watch one 22-episode season and that's like 5 months of netflix.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        I have some of those descriptions, and I think anthony_greer is right - to an extent. I dropped DirecTV because just getting the expanded package (but no premium channels) with HD service was getting very expensive. My kids never really even watched - my son prefers video games, and my daughter, when she watches anything, watches Netflix. There's a number of shows I think are actually quite good on broadcast TV and basic cable, but I can't stand commercials and either need DVR or a commercial free option

      • The problem is too much choice and not enough quality material. If you have 4 TV stations, like the UK use to have, each of them has enough revenue to be able to produce quality programs that a large segment of the population will enjoy. When you have 100+ stations the audience is fragmented and most of the stations have less money since there re more staff to support and so they can only afford reruns or crap new shows which are cheap to make.

        The same is true for streaming. If you look at the content on
    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      What you are describing is not a-la carte.

    • The main advantage is you choose when you watch your show. Back in the old days when we had a cable subscription, we'd turn TV on and it would be nothing but reality tv. You either watch reality TV or don't watch anything. Either that or you schedule things around the shows you want to watch.

      (seriously, networks with their over reliance on reality crap to cut costs is what made me cut the cord- their trying to save money lost money

      With Netflix, you need never watch reality TV. You can pick something wor

      • ^This, this, this!!! I never quite cut the cord over it, but I found non-primetime stuff to record, shouted at Bill O-Reiley, and pfutzed around on the internet. Currently, there are more non-reality shows on, but the damage is done, they have to lure from the other stuff, when they once had me by default.

      • With Netflix, you need never watch reality TV

        Without Netflix, you never need to watch TV at all. This will improve your life.

        • I think that's true for people who spend multiple hours a day watching TV. I can't see how watching one show before bed is decrementing my life. It adds a little colour.

    • This ala carte thing is really backfiring - as much as I dislike Comcast, there is something to be said for getting everything in one bill. When you add up netflix, HBOgo, hulu, CBS, Amazon, and your choice of Directv NOW, Playstation TV, or that Dish/sling offering plus a decent internet connection, its already more than the tv+net package from the cable company and the content we want constantly disappears or has some goofy restriction placed on it. The media companies are making this WORSE...

      Definitely not true for me. Not with the internet package I have, at least. I can spend over $70 on things before I match the price that Comcast wanted to add any TV bundle to my internet service. With that promo price of $35 for DirecTV now, I would still have over $35 to blow on things like Netflix before I started spending more than Comcast wanted.

    • Except that you don't have to have Netflix, HBOgo, hulu, CBS, Amazon, DirectTv Now, Playstation TV and Sling TV. I have Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and YouTube Red. I tried and canceled CBS and Sling. I would get HBOgo but I'm not really feeling starved for content. I pay less now for these above services then I did when I had a single provider.

      It is true that if you subscribe to all the available services then you do have to pay more. However, now all these providers are in competition for our subsc

    • Step 1: Cancel Cable bundle.
      Step 2: $14. Add Hulu, no commercial add-on.
      Step 3: $12. Add Netflix.
      Step 4: $1. Add HBO Now after Game-of-thones is almost done for the season. Watch GOT 12 episodes in 4 weeks. Cancel HBO Now.
      Step 5: $15: Add Google Play Music (family) for commercial free You Tube Red.
      Optional Step 6: Add Vonage if you need a home phone.

      Montly TOTAL (Incl. $50 ISP) $112

      Even if you include Amazon Prime in there, ~$10/month. It's still only half of our previous $225 bundled cable bill.
    • 1. Agreed that this greed over licensing only harms consumers.

      /Oblg. Clueless exec is clueless:

      "If you were passionate (about a movie), you've already seen it," he said.

      Gee, isn't that precisely the problem in the first place !!! Netflix is so late to the party that they are becoming so irrelevant due to lack of content that they are having a hard time get new subscribers.

      This artificial time-delayed release (movie theater first, cable second, streaming third) IS precisely the problem caused by greed ove

    • This ala carte thing is really backfiring - as much as I dislike Comcast, there is something to be said for getting everything in one bill. When you add up netflix, HBOgo, hulu, CBS, Amazon, and your choice of Directv NOW, Playstation TV, or that Dish/sling offering plus a decent internet connection, its already more than the tv+net package from the cable company and the content we want constantly disappears or has some goofy restriction placed on it. The media companies are making this WORSE...

      You're paying too much because you seem to think you need all that. Pick your favorite two and ditch the rest.

    • The fragmentation is intentional, on the part of the content owners. Believe me, everyone knows that a lot of people want a single streaming service with all content. It's just not what copyright owners and ISPs want.

      Let's say Netflix suddenly had the rights to stream all movies, TV shows, and live events, and became the service that pretty much everyone used. Even if they raised prices quite a lot, people would still sign up for it. However, a company like Comcast would then be relegated to being a "d

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        The fragmentation is intentional, on the part of the content owners. Believe me, everyone knows that a lot of people want a single streaming service with all content. It's just not what copyright owners and ISPs want.

        Actually, it's because of monopsony. (Monopsony is the lesser-known opposite of monopoly. In a monopoly, there is one supplier that every customer has to buy from. In a monopsony, there are many suppliers, but one customer who will buy it. It's rarer, but it has happened before.

        Most well known

        • In a monopsony, there are many suppliers, but one customer who will buy it

          Do you mean "many suppliers, but one distributor"? Because that would be more accurate. The issue that I'm talking about (and also Apple iTunes) is not that there's a single "customer". there are millions of customers. But one business that has taken over resale and distribution.

          Movie and TV studios took note, and vowed they would never be controlled like that so they are ensuring that no one service will become dominant and be forced to acquiesce to whatever terms they provide.

          I agree that part of the reason for the things I describe is that video content owners have been trying to avoid the situation the record industry created with Apple iTunes and Spotify. Spotify has done the same thing, to a deg

    • While I agree with what you said about content disappearing, you've got everything else wrong (in fact, it looks like you're deliberately misstating things). A la carte pricing commoditizes the layers of the TV watching stack, allowing us to shop around and swap out parts we don't care about. Even for people who were taking full advantage of everything their package offered, it's almost assuredly cheaper with a la carte pricing, and for everyone else it certainly is.

      Using my own town as an example, Suddenli

    • The real danger with that approach is that you now have to have content to justify that particular price. Netflix, HBOgo, and Amazon Prime all make their cases pretty well (granted I only use Prime).

      Everyone wants their cut but most everyone offers an inferior product than Netflix initially. I have only so much free time in a day AND they have to compete with every other form of entertainment. 5 services at $10/month is pretty lousy compared to hundreds of hours in Civ 5 and Skyrim gotten on a Steam Sale...

  • Until they cancel their subscription like I have.
    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      And here is the big one, they looked at active subscribers, and found they watch stuff. Well of course, if they can't find anything to watch, they cancel their subscription!

      A more interesting comparison would be how many people have cancelled in various places in the months following the loss of major studio deals.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        The problem is that, as they lose better movies, they add more original content - and that is precisely what Netflix wants; so if you like Orange Is The New Black or, in my case, Narcos, there's no alternative. Hulu has done the same thing - they are both adding original content at a really rapid pace (and because of that, most of it is now junk, whereas the original programming used to be top notch) and allowing their contracts to go south for the other content.

        Still, I don't think Narcos alone is worth $

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To a certain extent I agree. I'm paying $9 a month and get to watch on two devices at the same time. I don't expect to get everything in the world for that price. Frankly, I am happy watching reruns of some of my favorite show once in a while or letting the kids watch an occasional movie. If the price doubled, I'd drop it in a heartbeat, but for $108 a year, I am working 2 hours a year to get a couple hundred hours of entertainment. Seems like a good deal for me.

  • That explains a lot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SlithyMagister ( 822218 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @10:51AM (#53432347)
    If the same holds true for television -- that people watch the same amount regardless of quality -- it explains why I get 140 channels and can't find a show worth watching.
    • Exactly! Last night the wife and I ended up starting and stopping more movies / series than actually watching anything. Yeah there is shit there to watch, but it's exactly that SHIT! All the good stuff I have watched already - and I haven't had Netflix for long. At this rate I can see me signing up for NetFlix for about 3 months out of the year, if I'm watching crap because it's something to watch I very quickly start wondering why the fuck I am bothering, and do something else instead.
      • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:16AM (#53432589)

        That might be the smartest approach. Especially since the streaming market is so fragmented now. Rather than digging through the dregs of a channel for something.

        Get Netflix for a few months, catch up on their good exclusives, cancel. Get Hulu for a few months catch up on their good exclusives, cancel. Get HBO for a few months to watch GoT, cancel.

        Especially since the market looks even more likely to fragment in the future with CBS, et al, trying to get their own paid for channels. Instead of subscribing to multiple, alternate which one you're subscribed to and do one at a time.

        • That sounds like crappy system compared to piracy.

          • Well the only reason I signed up for Netflix in the first place was because the wife wanted to watch one of their exclusives and I was having trouble finding it in "ahem" unofficial places. Also I live in an area with crappy internet so having a copy on a hard drive is great for when the internet is down.
    • that people watch the same amount regardless of quality

      Think about it. Cities full of streets full of houses full of people sitting in relative silence in front of television screens. It's a frightening reality, it's why no-one knows what's going on, it's why dangerous fools get voted into power. People don't watch television because what's on TV is any good, and the TV companies realised this decades ago. People watch television to fill in the time before they go to bed, because they literally have nothing else to do. It's unspeakably depressing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @10:55AM (#53432375)

    From personal experience, when we want to watch a movie on short notice we will go to Netflix first. We've generally got a pool of movies in mind we're meaning to watch. If Netflix doesn't have any of them (a situation which has become more common than not) we'll usually just pick one that is there out of convenience. "Lots of movies, just not the ones you want" is not a great situation for Netflix to be proud of or even satisfied with. It's like they're becoming the online video equivalent of the stereotypical used car salesman from old sitcoms hawking their huge fleet of trashy cars, and 38 rusty Toyotas is not better than the BMW you wanted.

  • A good alternative to Netflix comes along... color me gone.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      Hulu actually has a lot of movies they offer, too... unfortunately, it's about the same quality as Netflix's library.
    • by fsagx ( 1936954 )

      I suspect most slashdot readers would have no difficulty setting up a (Torrent + VPN + XBMC/Plex) workflow to achieve a system superior to netflix + hulu + HBO ...

      If you wouldn't or don't, why not? Too much effort? Not spouse-friendly? Morals? Fear of nasty letter from ISP?

      I rarely watch movies or TV, so I'm curious.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to the Netflix exec, subscribers spend about the same time watching movies on the service regardless of the depth or perceived quality of the movie library. "No matter what, we end up with about one-third of our watching being movies," he told the audience.

    Ok, but how many raw hours is that? An unchanging one-third might sound fine, until you realize that it was one-third of 100 last year, but one-third of 10 this year, because the number of subscribers went down.

    I don't know how/if Netflix's subscriber base has changed over the years, I'm simply stating that the metric chosen doesn't show squat.

  • back when we had half a dozen broadcast stations most of the time the movies sucked. i never liked the western much but watched them along with the WW2 and others because sometimes there was nothing to do and you sat on the couch and stared at the box in front of you

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:03AM (#53432471) Journal

    I cancelled earlier in November for this very reason. They've got their market all wrong. The biggest benefit Netflix had was the volume of movies that you haven't watched but had some interest in. To recharacterize thier users as people who watch what they want prior to netflix, is a big mistake because that's where netflix had its biggest value.

    If this is the real reality, the price of netflix should come down to reflect the diminished quality and selection.

    I'm at amazon now. Amazon and chill.

    • I'm cancelling too, I do like Acorn and will keep it as I like some of the British works. There are some good things on YOUtube also. I used to like Netflix, but not anymore.
    • I hate Amazon's interface, but they do have a better library than Netflix now.

      It's easier for the kids to navigate Netflix so that is what they watch. If we didn't have the kids, Netflix would have gone already.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Typical greedy corporate logic. Just because I will eat the same number of low-grade Chinese-imported chemical cheese puffs does not mean I would not prefer to eat fresh organic locally-made cheese puffs. Eventually your customers will realize there are better options for the same money and cancel their subscriptions.

  • the movie catalog is shrinking, and the quality of the movies aren't that great anymore.

    I've had a Netflix subscription twice and I've cancelled it twice. Why? Glad you asked. Reason #1 was that I wasn't getting adequate value for the money. No it wasn't hugely expensive but the catalog of shows was mostly older movies, B movies, or stuff that I had little to no interest in. Their original programming simply didn't hold my interest. Reason #2 was that it was a pain in the ass to find anything interesting to watch. Their navigation system was annoying and clumsy at best. It took WAY t

  • Issues (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:10AM (#53432529)
    There seem to be a lot of problems with this argument, at least as presented in the blurb (TFA is blocked at work.)

    First, the amount of time spent watching stuff is a poor metric by itself. What you really want to know is the amount of enjoyment people get out of the service. Admittedly that is very hard to measure accurately, which is why they want to use "hours spent watching" as a more easily determinable value. However they shouldn't forget that the map is not the territory.

    As long as people are subscribed to the service they're going to feel compelled to get something out of it. It's the old complaint of "a hundred channels and nothing is on", and yet people kept watching, at least until something better came along. For a lot of people if they have Netflix and they feel like watching a movie they're going to browse around until they find _something_.

    And there's a strong corollary, if people feel like they _aren't_ getting their money's worth out, they're probably inclined to cancel the service. Which means suddenly they're not being measured in your survey anymore.

    Of course what's being measured here is the balance between movies and TV, which _might_ not be affected by people deciding there aren't enough good movies on. However the above would still hold true if their (non-original) TV content had also seen a similar decline. I know a couple shows i used to watch have disappeared off of Netflix. Are there actually any statistics about the number/quality of TV shows they've had available over time?

    Finally, saying that "a majority of fans" have already seen blockbuster movies is just dumb. Of course the "fans" who were "passionate" about the movie have already seen it. They're probably also the people who are going to buy it on DVD or BluRay. They are not your customers in this particular instance. The people who are waiting until the movie is on Netflix/Cable/broadcast TV are the people who said "that sounds kind of cool" but never got around to watching it before it left theatres. Given that they weren't gung-ho about it in the first place they're probably not going to want to rush out and buy the DVD sight-unseen, they're just going to wait until they can rent it or catch it on something they have a subscription for. There may be no one particular blockbuster movie that audience especially cares about, but if your service doesn't carry _any_ of the blockbusters then i expect that that's a serious mark against it in the eyes of many consumers.
    • I'm contemplating on cancelling Netflix just for their shitty quality (that is so visible on a 4K with HDR colors screen! And I'm on a 350Mbit/s connection so it's not the bitrate). Added this to what you mentioned regarding hard to find _interesting_ and being settling on _something_ is not making the service compelling enough to stay subscribed.

    • " ...
      First, the amount of time spent watching stuff is a poor metric by itself. What you really want to know is the amount of enjoyment people get out of the service. Admittedly that is very hard to measure accurately, which is why they want to use "hours spent watching" as a more easily determinable value. However they shouldn't forget that the map is not the territory. ..."

      Ah, but you are not a TV Programming executive. You see, the single most important metric to anyone providing content is the amount of
      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        Nice theory, but we're talking about Netflix. They make money from subscribers, not ads. In the end it doesn't matter how much or how little a Netflix customer watches, only whether they continue their subscription. In fact if Netflix could somehow convince everyone to keep paying for subscriptions without actually watching any content it would be a dream come true for them.
    • First, the amount of time spent watching stuff is a poor metric by itself. What you really want to know is the amount of enjoyment people get out of the service. Admittedly that is very hard to measure accurately, which is why they want to use "hours spent watching" as a more easily determinable value.

      One of the things that I think is important to keep in mind is, a lot of people just turn on the TV when they get home. They just turn on *something*. They might take a nap or leave the room. They might be reading things online. They still just have *something* playing on the TV.

      So it's not just a question of whether or not they're enjoying the TV show they're watching, but also a question of whether they're really watching the TV show that they're streaming.

  • Perhaps people watch the same amount of TV regardless of quality- but it won't all be Netflix.

    It used to be Netflix was king and everything I watched was on Netflix. Over time, we've since acquired subscriptions to Amazon Prime (the wife has student account) and Hulu. As Netflix has fewer things worth watch, we spend more time watching Netflix's rivals. (Unfortunately Hulu also has fewer quality shows now too).

    We still watch a similar amount of TV (not a lot, we've never been a big TV family) the differe

    • Right now, my TV is split. I have quite a few show on regular TV that I watch. I also have Netflix & Hulu. I don't plan to drop any now, but right now Netflix is the least watched of the 3.

  • ...or I'm getting truly senile, hope not. At least I don't think so, but it seems to me that Netflix have a habit of removing my "rating" settings after a while, and presents the same movies I've already seen 1 year before on Netflix as my reccomendations.

    What I have noticed though - is that they now change the POSTERS for each movie regularly so you essentially get tricked into believing that it's a new movie, but it's just the same movie with different posters and snapshots.
    • You're not senile. Netflix continually recommends that I watch what I've already seen, sometimes to continue watching and often to watch again. I dislike this type of homepage. They do have a lot of decent "original" TV shows that are international. I don't watch subtitled shows. I prefer dubbed in so I don't have to sit and watch every second. There are some good British shows, like Spotless.
  • The one thing I really miss about the mailed disk version of Netflix was its recommendation system. It always recommended good movies that I never got to see. The reason why I continued to subscribe to Netflix was because of its recommendation system. I really wish they had everything, even if most movies were pay-to-stream.
  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:24AM (#53432647)

    I've had Netflix for what seems forever, at least for 10 years or better. Bragging about that buys me zero credibility and a negative balance of /. stock, but here's why I think they are right: people seriously don't give a shit after a while and will side with convenience, comfort, and instant availability to satisfy all of our Alice in Chains 'feed-my-eyes' quest for immediate entertainment anymore, even if it's at the cost of some pixel depth and resolution crispness.

    Not a single person can't tell me after spending almost the comparable amount of swiping time 'looking' for a show that it takes to actually watch one, you just finally pick something and watch it.

    Heck, I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to watch a show I was jonsing to put on, that I own in that cute BluRay-DVD bundle pack, but was too lazy to go and physically put it in, so I sufficed the average HD/SD quality Netflix had to offer _for_the_same_show_.

    Netflix has got it right and doesn't need to back up their claim with all the data you give them away to pillage, do big data on, run through Hadoop or whatever machine learning foo they have: We are going to watch it all in the end, regardless of what is/isnt there and what it's quality is, as long as it doesn't look too much like a 1980's Twisted Sister bootleg off a first gen tape PVR. That's how we are wired to act about this shit anymore. Anyone having a high-res flame war here is just wrong IMHO.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I don't think quality referred to *image* quality, but to the quality of the content. People are as prone to watch C-list, shot-on-DSLR crap as they are to watch the latest critic-lauded-based-on-a-Mann-Booker-winning-novel film.

      Not a single person can't tell me after spending almost the comparable amount of swiping time 'looking' for a show that it takes to actually watch one, you just finally pick something and watch it.

      This is totally spot-on. I can't tell you the number of times I've (finally) had about 2.5 hours of down time and felt like a little video distraction would be a good idea and then spent 20-odd minutes looking for a movie, finally settled on one that didn't look too awful, lost in

      • Honestly, I would likely cancel my Netflix subscription if it didn't keep some $100 cable package at bay for the rest of my family (mostly my son).

        Yes, that. They've got a few series with seriously deep catalogs: Law & Order (in several flavors), CSI (in several flavors), NCIS (in several flavors) ... hmm, I'm seeing a pattern here.

        Short version is everyone in my family would have to binge for weeks to get through all the stuff we have in our queues. And that's not even counting the 30 or so movies I've got in there after reading interesting reviews. It's not the blockbusters, but I don't like a lot of those anyway.

    • by jwdb ( 526327 )

      Article is talking about quality in the sense of it being a good film vs rubbish, not whether or not they've cranked up the compression. He's saying that if all that Netflix has is "Big Summer Movie Blockbuster XXIV: The Return", people will watch it anyway even if it's trash, so why bother trying to curate their movie selection. For me that's a deal-breaker, as I have very little interest in trash.

      Streaming quality is not mentioned anywhere, neither in TFS or TFA. I'll give you that the title is ambiguous,

  • It's not unreasonable to assume that overall, Netflix customers tend to spend a certain number of hours each week or month watching their content. And regardless of how compelling the content might be? People still have to eventually get some sleep, or get up and go to school or work in the morning every weekday. Binge-watching probably doesn't even put much of a dent in these averages either. (I suspect binge-watchers tend to watch a lot LESS television after they just finished binging on a series. They've

  • Netflix's shrinking catalog may have a correlation in the shrinking growth in its subscriber base [wired.com]. It may not matter much to its remaining subscribers, but it very well could matter to people choosing not to sign up, or to people like me that dropped the service.

  • by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2016 @11:37AM (#53432787)
    I mean, what could go wrong? "People buy our stuff whether it's good or not! Surely, they will continue to do that forever. Dividends for everyone!"
  • I have, for some time now, been wrestling with the urge to cut the Netflix cord. The catalog has shrunk, the caliber of the movies and programs is about 80% "filler" - its just plain garbage. I think that maybe its just me - there is almost nothing in the catalog that I want to watch any more - and I am multiligual - I can choose from Swedish, German, French, English, Danish and Spanish language movies. For those who watch only a single language their selection is even more limited. I'm pretty much disg

  • This just in...new study shows that Netflix is nothing more than mindless entertainment.

    Gee, I'm shocked.

    Of course, this corporate mentality also highlights the issue of willfull ignorance these days. Consumers are ignorant, and don't care. Corporations don't care, especially when they know they're selling a rather addictive product that's also perpetuated by popularity hype.

    How did we get here? Well, tends to happen when a society values and rewards shallow traits like narcissism over actual skill an

  • When I get home from work, I plop in my chair and veg out. I've done that for as long as I've had a job to get home from. But I'm not doing the same crap. I went from watching Primetime crap to watching non-primetime crap on the DVR, to watching Netflix. Just because I'm doing some form of mindless entertainment doesn't mean it will be Netflix. If their content drops enough, there's Hulu, or if not that, something else.

  • While I was a Netflix subscriber (before the VPN ban), I was already appalled by the lack of quality content.

    The way I handled it was by using the worthless Netflix shows as background noise (ie: doing the chores) and reserved the few good ones for when I had a couple of hours to chill-out in front of the screen.

    I know for a fact that's a quite common habit around here.

  • I understand NF decision to focus on original content.
    From their perspective it makes sense, and from what I've seen, they are trying a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" method.
    Most of their original content isn't that good.

    However, some of it is exceptional.

    Also, there are loads of vintage Hollywood classics on NF, as well as docs that are really good.

    When I hear people say they can't find anything to watch on NF I assume their interests in film are likely to be the sort of ga
  • It's funny to watch executives try to reason from statistical evidence through to a valid interpretation of that evidence. I mean "funny", not in the ironic sense, but in the clownshow sense.

    So it has not occurred to any of these bozos that that American viewers who care about the the size of the movie catalog do not use Netflix but choose an alternative, and Canadians who care about the size of the catalog do choose Netflix? American thinks, "Netflix sucks, too small a catalog, I'm renting elsewhere." C

    • by Jodka ( 520060 )

      Actually, in followup to my own post, Netflix might not really believe their own story about viewer indifference to movie catalog size. Rather, it is a negotiating tactic: They tell that to the studios when negotiating for streaming rights, "see, we don't really need a deal with you guys to be successful, so you'll have to lower your prices." By that interpretation, the Netflix executives are no dummies, but they assume the studio executives to be.

  • If the movie you want to watch is on Netflix and that's all you got, then you're going to watch it on Netflix. Most people are not going to run out and buy a disc for a movie they want to see once, and most people don't care if it's theatre-quality if it's on their TV, so this whole subject is pointless, really. Seriously, do you think the average person is going to think "..well, the bitrate and quantization are not quite up to my standards, so I'm going to spend the next hour or so setting up an Amazon su
  • I use Netflix to watch that odd movie or show I really wanted to see when it first came out but somehow missed. I caught a good part of the first season of Daredevil on Netflix over the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • "Whatever most people will quietly settle for is exactly what they will get." -- Corporate America

  • If all the grocery stores sold was bread, I suppose most of us would just eat bread. That doesn't make it a good thing. Netflix badly needs a real competitor. Perhaps turning movies and television shows into commodities and forcing all distributors to get the same non-exclusive deals might work. i.e., if I want to distribute a movie, I pay the same per viewing to do so as anyone else.
    • This, hard; Most people who watch movies as entertainment are going to be slow to adopt new hobbies. What the report really says is "bored people on Monday evening settle to watch movie they're not that interested in because they couldn't think of anything else to do." This is the precise arrogance that pushed Block Buster Video out of business.

  • I think a large movie cataloge is needed to lure new customers in - look what we have, come join us.
    Once they're in, it indeed doesn't matter that much anymore.

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