My Netflix Usage

2008-06-25 21:37 - General

A series of recent happenings, including the disappearance of the profiles feature has recently prompted me to evaluate my Netflix membership. I've enjoyed their service for quite some time, but it's quite a story.

A few years ago, I was starting a new job. It was a startup, and they didn't have much space yet, just a room at the back of another company's office, which didn't afford much room. It filled up fast and being a programmer, it was easy to let me work from home. (And they didn't have much other option.) This left a lot of time sitting in the same room with my TV. The local video store was Hollywood Video, and they still offer Movie Value Pass. It's very similar to Netflix, but in-store only. Being only a 2-3 block walk away from my old apartment, it was a very convenient service. At that time, it wasn't at all unusual for me to watch three movies over the course of a week, then three on Saturday and Sunday, each. With no waiting for the mail, it was possible, and with an entire video store (except the very newest releases) at my disposal combined with so much at-home time, it was practical.

An entire video store isn't actually all that much, though. The video store doesn't have even a fraction of the recommendation system that Netflix has, nor the selection. I rapidly ran out of movies I knew I wanted, and guessing left me with a whole lot I didn't care to see. (I didn't really watch all those movies, like I hinted to in the last paragraph. Many of them were "just on" as I was doing something else, or stopped only 15-30 minutes in. Returning it and getting another was only a 10 minute walk, so why not?) So if you couldn't guess where this is going: I eventually switched to Netflix. The selection was really the cincher, but the slow cycling of the list was an unexpected side benefit. It took long enough to go from the bottom of a 30+ list to the ones I got, each was usually a surprise.

But, of course, this happened because I have to mail rather than carry each disc just a few blocks. They don't process on Saturday, and the mail doesn't run on Sunday. So it's guaranteed to take 2 days (1 each way) in the mail, and usually at least a day to watch it. It's getting pretty common that it's just 3 I cover over the course of the weekend. To the point where I start to wonder if it's worth the cost; Netflix's selection is starting to dry up too, and I'm watching movies that just don't seem to "do it" anymore.

So how many movies do I watch for my $16.99 (plus tax) per month? I recently discovered FeedFlix, which tells me this, but only from when I started using it on. Because I wanted to make sure my ratings were current, I recently clicked through to see the page that shows me all of my rental activity. After taking both profiles into account, I came up with this:

It bounces up and down quite a bit. The average comes out to 12 per month. That comes out to a pretty good deal still overall, just barely over $1.50 each. I'm pretty confident that's the cheapest that I can (legally) get exactly which movies I choose, to watch at any time that's convenient for me. The question remains then, are there still movies I haven't seen, that are worth seeing?


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