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Netflix Hasn't Forgotten About Its 4.3 Million DVD Subscribers (qz.com) 84

Netflix hasn't forgotten about its DVD service, which millions of people still use. From a report on Quartz: The company is touting a new app that DVD customers can use to manage their Netflix queues, search for DVD and Blu-ray titles, and get movie recommendations. Those features for DVD subscribers vanished from the main Netflix app back in 2011, leaving subscribers to manage their accounts on DVD.com. The new app, called DVD Netflix, is currently only available on Apple's iOS in the US, which is the only country the DVD service is offered in. About 4.2 million people in the US still rent DVDs from Netflix.
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Netflix Hasn't Forgotten About Its 4.3 Million DVD Subscribers

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  • I'd call it Qwikster, announce it out of nowhere without researching the name or securing it in any way, then take it out back and shoot it.
    The resulting press release would translate roughly to "lol oops"

    • My theory on Qwikster was that Netflix signed something w/ the movie publishers saying that they had to pay an amount based on how many Netflix customers there were ... and so they tried to make it so millions of people no longer qualified as 'Netflix customers'.

      If Netflix had come out and said 'yes, the name's stupid, but we're doing this to say FU to the movie industry', people would've loved them. (but they would've shot themselves in the foot for whenever they had to renew those contracts)

  • So... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A service to buy crap that you can download for free and it's only available to Apple users. And the media suckers wonder why people pirate movies?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SirSlud ( 67381 )

      So your rhetorical answer to why people download movies for free because they can download movies for free?

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

      by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:53PM (#53606013) Homepage

      A service to buy crap that you can download for free and it's only available to Apple users.

      Technically, it's a service to rent crap that you can download for free. In addition to the difference in quality, there are more than a couple of reasons that people choose not to download - Many of us still pay for content.

  • WTF is up with netflix that it only does move to the top? I really and truly do want to move something to the bottom. Why do you make me drag?

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:36PM (#53605871)

    It made perfect sense for Netflix to spend a lot of capital replacing the DVD rental model and all its shuffling of fragile plastic between shelf space and mail, with streamed downloads. Given a suitable backup strategy, server-based files can last forever.

    The problem was not technical, but legal. Netflix streaming servers have been stuck with an artificially limited selection of TV shows and movies that "expire" and have to be deleted. Until we see a basic change in IP law, the best film library will be DVD forever.

    • by boguslinks ( 1117203 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @05:18PM (#53606583)
      Yes, the summary twice says people are "still" using the DVD service, as if it's an Abacus. Especially if you like some obscure and/or non-US movies, the DVD inventory is the only place to find most of what you want to watch.
      • Or if you live in a rural area.
      • If Netflix didn't engage in a VPN hunt, it'd be still watchable.
      • by atrex ( 4811433 )
        It's not just obscure/non-US movies, but new releases as well. Where PPV services like Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudo, etc get access to rent new releases at or even before physical disc releases, Netflix Streaming hardly gets access to anything new at the same time it's released for wide distribution elsewhere.

        Now to be fair that's because Netflix streaming has continued to drop the ball by not establishing a competitive PPV service for new releases (ie to compete with Amazon's model) alongside their su
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The reason it still exists is not only legal. It's also technical. You have to have enough bandwidth to stream video. I don't at either work or home, and I don't know anyone here in the Seattle area that has enough bandwidth at home to stream video.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:37PM (#53605877) Homepage
    If this is a NEW app, then it proves exactly the opposite of the article headline. Indeed, Netflix HAS FORGOTTEN its dvd subscribers and has only just now suddenly remembered them after a long period of neglect. (psssst . . . hear that Apple?)

    But such is corporate and government speak. Whatever they say is a euphemism for something that means the opposite. An attempt to disguise something. It doesn't fool anyone.
    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      If this is a NEW app, then it proves exactly the opposite of the article headline. Indeed, Netflix HAS FORGOTTEN its dvd subscribers and has only just now suddenly remembered them after a long period of neglect. (psssst . . . hear that Apple?)

      I don't know, I see new titles in the DVD/BluRay selection all the time, my DVDs have arrived on time, and if any are damaged, they send a replacement immediately without waiting for me to return the old one.

      The only thing missing was an app, so I wouldn't say I had been "forgotten."

    • Netflix HAS FORGOTTEN its dvd subscribers and has only just now suddenly remembered them after a long period of neglect.

      I don't think that's really true at all. The disc management part of Netflix has been around forever and has gotten better over time, both in performance and usefulness - even as the size of my disk queue has grown.

      A new app now just for disc subscribers DOES show they are still thinking about said customers, because Netflix could just as easily have let everyone keep using the web interf

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        A new app now just for disc subscribers DOES show they are still thinking about said customers, because Netflix could just as easily have let everyone keep using the web interface until discs went away.

        The question is, is an app necessary or is it just a WebView into ther DVD management site? And if the DVD site is usable on mobile, why not improve that so it works for iOS AND Android>

        Is an app really necessary?

    • by atrex ( 4811433 )
      Technically I don't see why they need "An App" when the mobile version of the dvd.com website allows queue maintenance just fine. Although after some of the shitty rendering bugs I've seen crop up in the latest versions of iOS, maybe they decided it was the only way to get around Apple's idiocy.
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:40PM (#53605901)

    ... it's 4.3 Million DVD subscribers... just the 4.1 million of them using Android since Apple users were probably the most likely to jump ship to streaming only.

    I dropped the disc service a while ago, but there's a lot of stuff they don't offer streaming that you can get on disc. Maybe that was their plan all along - make the streaming options so crappy that people will go back to the DVD subscriptions.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're not thinking about the rural people subscribing to Netflix. I'd like to see the stats, but my bet is the vast majority of those 4 million users can't get "broadband" or anything much faster than 1.5mbps. Steaming 1 video with that speed is ok at best. Streaming multiple videos is impossible.

      Trust me, that's the world I live in, it sucks and I have absolutely no choice other than to ditch an internet connection all together. My parents get the DVDs still because they only have a WiMax connection a

      • Where can you *legally* stream any given title from Netflix's DVD service?

        Regardless of the speed of my broadband, I find their DVD service to be more useful than their streaming service (except for some of their very good series). Their streaming service seems to be a lot better at TV shows.

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        I'd like to see the stats, but my bet is the vast majority of those 4 million users can't get "broadband" or anything much faster than 1.5mbps. Steaming 1 video with that speed is ok at best. Streaming multiple videos is impossible.

        And if you absolutely hate Comcast, sometimes you're stuck with a slower connection even in the city.

        But the big reason why I stick with their DVD service is selection -- I can get just about any title I want. I hate the online streaming services, they all, ALL have shitty selection, and I have no little intention of signing up with several services just to get a selection that is still just halfway-decent. And I have NO intention of letting online streaming selection dictate what I'll watch.

        Since I set up

        • Things you cant get::
          - Crossing Jordan series
          - Cold Case series
          - Highlander: The Raven series
          eat shiat & die! CBS and MAFIAA
    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:58PM (#53606051)

      I dropped the disc service a while ago, but there's a lot of stuff they don't offer streaming that you can get on disc. Maybe that was their plan all along - make the streaming options so crappy that people will go back to the DVD subscriptions.

      Except their DVD selection has been dwindling as well. It used to be I had only a couple items in the "saved" section of my Netflix DVD queue... and those were movies which had yet to be released on DVD because they were still in theaters. Now I have 39 items - all but one of which used to be in my regular DVD queue, meaning those disks used to be available from Netflix but now aren't.

      It seems likely Netflix's real plan is to get people to keep giving them money, but to eventually only offer stuff they're producing themselves. And so far, with me, it seems to be working... out of inertia more than anything else.

      • Worse than this is at least some of the movies they have when they break/lose the disc they just don't replace it. There's a disc 4 missing on a series I wanted to watch that I placed in my saved section over a year ago. Why the hell would I want to start watching a show with no way to get the episodes on disc 4?

        • by Mousit ( 646085 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @04:50PM (#53606397)
          Not to mention, aside from not replacing a broken/lost disc, they routinely ignore damaged disc reports in the first place. Or at the least they don't test their discs. Something to that effect. The most recent movie I wanted to watch, I had to report it damaged FOUR TIMES before I received a (fifth) disc that was finally playable. One of the five discs I received, the sleeve it came in someone had actually written on it "broken won't play". No idea if they reported that through the website as well, though.

          Scratched and unplayable discs are so common I now spend twice or three times as long getting through my queue because I routinely have to report damaged discs and wait for a replacement, which takes additional time because there's no longer a warehouse near me. 2-day service instead of the former overnight. I've also taken to not sending back the damaged disc until I receive the replacement, because more than once I sent a disc back and GOT THE SAME DISC AGAIN as a replacement. I know this for a fact in one instance because that particular disc had very specific damage on it (some asshole had deliberately scratched a fucking design into the bottom of the disc, ruining it). I returned this disc, waiting for a replacement.. and got the same disc again. Unless that person marked a bunch of discs with an identical design scratched into them all.
          • by atrex ( 4811433 )
            I think they've automated their disc handling systems to such an extent I don't think that there's any human checking of returned discs any more. I consistently see blu-rays cracked in the same or similar manner that actually makes me think that either the USPS postal system is cracking them, or Netflix's own robots are. I've had to send probably about two dozen discs back for replacement that had an 1/8" to 1/4" crack at the very edge.

            And I think the above comment is absolutely right: they don't make an
    • It's the Hollywood studios who make the artificial distinction between DVD/Blu-ray rentals and streaming rentals. They're both ways to get the same bits to your TV, just one does it on a plastic disc, the other does it over wires. But since Hollywood controls the supply and has contsitutional rights to control "distribution", their illogical world-view is what counts. So Netflix (and other rental/streaming companies) have to negotiate separate licenses for rental rights vs. streaming rights. And Hollywo
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        But the issue isn't streaming on android, it's accessing the DVD mailing service from an android app - they only made it for Apple. Nothing to do with streaming.
    • Global market share percentages for Android and iOS was 86.2 vs 12.9 in 2Q2016 respectively. If you make the logic leap that the mobile OS use of the 4.3M DVD subscribers mirrors those percentages, then in reality, Netflix only provided mobile DVD queue management for 554,700 of those customers and left another 3.7M out in the cold.

      It's tempting to say that Netflix has indeed forgotten about DVD subscribers given those numbers, but the reality is they probably just didn't want to turn on the firehose just y

    • Why are you complaining. Netflix uses Apple as a Guinea pig, and when the app works perfect, they'll publish the Android version.
  • by StealthHunter ( 597677 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:41PM (#53605919)

    i mean really? it's 2017.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      Well ... since we're talking about a U.S.-only services, they're technically only forgetting about roughly 108 million Android users.

      • Well ... since we're talking about a U.S.-only services, they're technically only forgetting about roughly 108 million Android users.

        So, it's Android users, in the USA, wanting to watch movies on DVD, that Netflix provides, can pay for it, cannot or will not use another service, and are unhappy with the web based management.

        I don't know the number of people that describes but I expect the number to be quite small compared to the many other happy paying customers.

        I could be completely wrong too.

  • I couldn't give two shits about some stupid "app". I'm an avid DVD renter from Netflix, and their service is dogshit, now.
    - The most you can rent is two at a time
    - Their library is dwindling fast. Right now, 1/3 of the movies in my queue are unavailable, with no eta as to when (if ever) Netflix will ever have the DVD's in stock again.
    I would switch to a better service (and pay more money) if there were a better service. For now, I'm supplementing Netflix with my public library.
    • by faedle ( 114018 )

      I have a 3 DVD out at a time plan, so I have no idea what you are talking about here.

      But the 1/3 of the movies being out seems plausable. I can't say it's that much, at least in my queue, but there's some gaping holes that have developed due to lost discs (like in multi-disc TV show sets) and they don't get replenished. What's worse is I know Netflix sells a lot of their inventory through discount retailers under a white-label and the fact is that's even dwindled down to a slow trickle.

      DVD is a dying format

      • I totally understand DVD is not a growth center and never will be again. I don't think its to much to ask that they replenish the missing disks to a series though or failing that at least remove the series from the library as it effectively doesn't exist anymore.

        Its also kind of weird they developed an iOS app for this at all if its just a vestige of past.

        • by faedle ( 114018 )

          I have had discs with "very long wait" times eventually get to me, a prime example being Life of Brian. It's frustrating it took 9 months, but it did eventually come.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        DVD is a dying format,

        I guess I'll have to switch to HD DVD.

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      - The most you can rent is two at a time

      I have five checked out at this moment.. is this something just for new customers?

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:52PM (#53605999)
    Delivery of the DVDs has slowed considerably. I went from next day delivery to two day delivery because my address was changed to be serviced by a warehouse two states away. I've also seen times when it takes two days for the warehouse to ship a new DVD after they've received the old one, a change from the prior usual same day turnaround.

    .
    I have also seen DVDs shipped from the other side of the country, taking three or four days to arrive. In those instances Netflix used to ship the next in your queue from a local warehouse, to tide you over the wait. It appears they don't do that anymore --- you wait for the cross-country shipment.

    For me, the most important indicator of the deteriorating quality of Netflix's DVD service is that I no longer get emails asking me about the length of the delivery times. To me that shows Netflix no longer seems to care about delivery times.

    But they have a shiny new app for Apple phones...

    • Slightly off-topic, but this seems to be the nature of business these days. I've noticed Amazon Prime's "2-day guarantee" is only barely better than UPS Ground (Free shipping). In order to make it 2 business days involves chatting with customer support and complaining. I'm not entirely sure where the blame lies, but if two big names whose shipping is a significant part of business can't manage to keep a 2-day promise, then maybe it's FedEx, UPS and USPS to blame.
      • ... if two big names whose shipping is a significant part of business can't manage to keep a 2-day promise, then maybe it's FedEx, UPS and USPS to blame....

        Netflix changed the warehouse that services my address. The old warehouse got the DVD to me next day, every time. The new warehouse for me is out of the USPS next day delivery region, and in the two-day delivery region.

        .
        As much as you'd like it to be a UPS, USPS or FedEx problem, this one seems to rest squarely on Netflix's lap.

        As an aside, I've not had any problems with UPS or FedEx being unable to make their ship-time commitments. USPS does on rare occasions for me.

      • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )
        I often get Prime stuff in one day, sometimes on Sunday. I've never had a package not arrive within the promised two days.
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @03:58PM (#53606049)

    I've noticed similar behavior with 2 other vendors that I use a lot lately -- they'll kill a feature or way of doing something, then build it back in slowly over time. Meanwhile, the end user is stuck with reduced features. I think I'm not Agile enough to understand how this helps.

    Example 1 -- VMWare -- after announcing that they were effectively killing the VSphere Client Windows application, they announced a replacement -- the Flash-based web client. Oops, all the browser manufacturers started dumping Flash, _and_ VMWare admins hated it anyway. So now, they're slowly re-introducing a new HTML5 based client that only has basic features, but gets new ones with every release. You have to run the Flash client anyway to do anything beyond basic admin stuff in this latest build.

    Example 2 -- Citrix -- During their heart attack-inducing takeover by a hedge fund, they merged XenApp and XenDesktop into a single technology stack to save development money. XenApp (arguably the #1 killer app for healthcare application delivery) actually lost features for several versions in the early 7.x environment while the development teams were building them back into the XenDesktop model. It wasn't uncommon to hear "Oh yeah, this doesn't work in 7.3, it's scheuled for 7.7" or similar.

    I'm all for continuous integration, agile development and all that, but does it make sense for enterprise applications to follow the same model of a consumer service like Netflix or Facebook?

    • On VMWare: I believe they have a working HTML5 replacement for the Flash client, in addition to the embedded host HTML5 client (replacement for the Windows client)

      The bigger issue here is both of these things are still buggy and they're cutting off support for the not buggy C# client with 6.5.

  • They can't improve fast enough. Between the increasingly long waits for long tail content and the increasing likelihood those titles will simply drop off the list entirely and enter the Netflix twilight zone they cynically call "Saved" never to return, and the increasingly long turn-around times for their mailers, when once you could rely on 2 films per week, now you're literally lucky to get only one, which doubles my costs and halves theirs, I'm seriously longing for the old life-in-the-slow-lane video st
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are large parts of the USA without access to the internet. hell, I have been places where there are people living and there are no telephone access (wired) or cell service.

    Amazing!

  • Hrrmmm.... Don't care about an "app" -- I just want to be able to go to netflix.com in a real web browser, and quickly manage my streaming queue AND my DVD/bluray queue -- right now, it's a PITA because when you're looking at the disc detail for a title, it won't tell you whether it's available on streaming, which it did for years, but is gone now.

    It's annoying to have to load up two tabs, and do a search for the title on both sites to figure out if I need to order the disc or can watch on streaming, espec

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @05:45PM (#53606749)

    Netflix seems surprised people are not dropping the DVD service, but a lot of content is NOT AVAILABLE on streaming. I total number of titles it may seem OK, but recent blockbusters generally appear on streaming long after they are on netflix DVD.

    I'd love to drop DVDs, but netflix doesn't provide the right content on streaming.

  • I use it...since all Netflix seems to care about now is their crappy Netflix Originals (though I admit Stranger Things was pretty good).
  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @08:09PM (#53607515)
    Everyone without eyesight disabilities should be able to see the horrible compression artefacts in "streamed video", no matter how fast one's Internet connection is, simply because streaming services are cost-optimized by utilizing very low bandwidths. I for one can happily wait for a physical disc delivery in return for a decent, non-crippled picture, coming at a bandwidth about 4 times of the highest "streaming video bandwidths" offered (at the same resolution) by any streaming video service.
    • Everyone without eyesight disabilities should be able to see the horrible compression artefacts in "streamed video",

      No doubt many people do see the difference, and don't care. "Horrible" is in the eye of the beholder.

      I used to watch a lot of broadcast television, VHF and UHF. Picture quality was pretty bad. Never bothered me.

      We got a VHS VCR, and recorded shows at EP speed. Picture quality was even worse. We still watched them.

      Then my parents moved to a house on the side of a mountain in Vermont; with a 15' antenna on the roof, they got three channels, filled with static. Not only did we continue to watch, we frequently

  • I wanted to write you a note and found here a box I could type it in. I was gonna find a service to send it by, but I found I could click "submit" instead of finding a place where I'd send it to. I wanted to include a quote, but I wasn't sure where I'd get it from. I told my friend I was typing this, and, answering the question about what I'd do that for, I said maybe it's less about who you type it to but more about who you type it with. I couldn't put it in the mail, 'cause what kind of paper would I writ

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