Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Netflix: are broken DVDs a sign of stress?

Netflix is not cheap, but it worked well for our family -- for a year or so.

Since the kids don't watch TV (much less cable), each child gets to pick one DVD a week. Some of the DVDs are of children's TV shows, I'm fond of Jimmy Neutron myself. Fred Flintstone is still funny, and now has added sociologic interest.

We receive about 10 DVDs a month on average. Recently, at least one of the 10 will be unplayable.

Ten percent is not an acceptable failure rate, though I'm sure it's significantly lower for adult DVDs. It used to be under 5% for the children's DVDs, so something is going wrong.

NFLX share price is pretty steady, and that's bad news for a growth company. I bet the CEO is feeling some options pain. I suspect they're cutting costs, probably by extending the lifespan of the circulating DVDs.

I'm not impressed with their no-Mac "free" electronic distribution, but I can live with that - for now. I can't be bothered phoning Netflix about a broken DVD once a month. The next time we call, we're going to make them an offer: we get a free month, or we see what Blockbusters failure rate is.

No comments: