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S

Wonderful interview Mike K, great information straight from the horse's mouth. It's good to know the inner workings on the WB deal and why it was done. Great work!

Luis

Yeah, thanks for the interview, great read and I second his recommendation for Sin Nombre.

Lamarrwilson

Hey Mike, great interview. Anyone who grumbles about this at this point simply is in the category he described of "looking for losers." A movie that comes out in 29 day is still new to ME. If I see it a year later, it's still new to ME. If people are that bent out of shape, they need to simply go to the theatre when it releases or buy the DVD.

Seth

Remember that the people who write [comment on HackingNetflix] are the people that are the most vocal and most passionate about the company... This is one of those rare deals where there really are no losers.

Oh please. Is this why you didn't tell your average customers on your website that the availability date for Warner movies is NOT the same as the buy date anymore? Don't you think they are going to be pissed and confused when they see the movie in Wal-Mart but see a totally different date on Netflix. It's such a "win" that you're being opaque about it on the website. Really Ted? If it's such a win, put a big notice on the Netflix website telling everyone about it. Crow about it. What's that Ted? Suddenly I can't hear you.

"Caddyshack, The Matrix 1, 2 & 3, the entire Dirty Harry film collection, the cream of the crop of the movie catalog that Warner Bros. controls the rights to. The money itself is being redeployed across several deals to expand the streaming content; both movies and television shows..."

Most of those films were on Netflix streaming before. This sounds like a lot of sophistry to me.

As in, the benefits being described were not the reason to make the deal, but are the lemonade they made after being given lemons.

Jon

Just CEO Jibba Jab ... I Want a new release Now .. And i want plenty of copies .. Netflix has the power to do this .. but they only care about the bottom line , I must Say thanks Block Buster for sending me new releases as soon as they are out be it from WB or anyone .. Oh and Streaming still sucks .. I pay Extra for Blu ray so why do i care about sub prime quality from streaming ??

andyg8180

i thought the interview was great... i GET why they want to open a window for WB... maybe in return we'll see more Watch Instant content from them... I'm kind of okay with the rental window... unfortunatly some movies i go directly to Redbox with, but i have netflix for the WI now...

@Seth, the guy was on the spot... He probably is still wheeling and dealing for new movies for WI... how would you expect him to say what movies WB is going to offer on WI?

tlbrew

Man, I can't wait for the cream of the crop... Caddyshack! wooo hah!

I mean, I could watch it every other weekend on a basic cable channel, but to get to pay a little extra for it over Netflix in exchange for watching movies later than release date? That's the deal I'm talking about!

John Dover

He does have a strong point that the people that post here at HN are NOTHING like 99% of their customers. Several people in my family are 3-at-a-time subscribers and barely watch 4 discs a month and have no idea when a movie goes to DVD sale. Very few people have their lives wrapped up in watching movies the instant they are released on DVD. Does this deal impress me? No. Does it matter to me? No. If it really matters to you, then Netflix might no longer be a reasonable deal for you. Maybe it has taken a succession of some changes to get you to that point. Luckily there is no contract or ETF, so just cancel your account or go down in service level. Personally, the value of my netflix subscription has gone up for me over the last year so I am still here.

Chris O.

Good score getting the interview. However, I felt like this guy was being very slippery & loose with the facts, and I'm not even that opposed to the rental window. How can it be simultaneously true that 1) there isn't very much demand for any one particular title 2) people who wanted a new Warner title typically had to wait longer than 28 days anyway?

And as observed by a previous commenter, lots of those streaming titles Sarandos mentioned were already available. I actually feel less inclined to support this Warner deal after reading this interview. But it's not going to get me canceling my Netflix account or anything, I'm mostly addicted to the streaming stuff and old TV series at this point. And again, kudos to Mike for getting the interview to us.

things

I’m going to reserve judgment and see how this pans out although Caddy Shack and Matrix don’t do much for me : )

Nick

Sin Nombre is indeed fantastic.

things

Another thing…I am sure this will stop a little growth and cause them to lose some people but I imagine that may be a good thing for them and is welcomed. Smart companies that plan for the long go through periods where they do indeed need to shrink a bit. “grow grow grow” is tunnel vision thinking.

Prozac


Good interview...like someone here mentioned before. I have to wait and see how it all works out. If most everyone can get a new release 28 days later then it sounds fair to everyone. What can you do? So far NF has made good choices and has been worth the money.

byteme

The low percentage of Netflix customers who are ticked by this deal are exactly the unprofitable, high-volume, quick-turn-around, kind of customers that Netflix would rather not have to begin with. The potential to trim this fat probably made this deal even more lucrative to Netflix. The "more streaming titles" lure is likely to retain and attract more of the customers who enjoy the WI programming that costs Netflix less since there are no postage fees involved.

This definitely does seem like a win for Netflix. It doesn't matter that much to me, but for those of you who are irate over this deal, Netflix is likely ready to hold the door open for you as you walk out. You are not an ideal customer to them anyway.

Jack

News flash: Yes, Netflix is all about the bottom-line. Any business that's in it 'for the people' or 'to do good in the world' will soon be out of business.

Netflix know has 20X the market capitalization of BlockBuster. How's BB business model working out? You can now buy their stock for under a dollar.

I'm both a Netflix customer and a shareholder - if you build a better mousetrap, not only will the world beat a path to your door, but everyone will also own a better mouse-trap. I call that a win-win.

Jeff Racjen

The customer was sold out, 30% of the requests were for new releases. Netflix is positioning its self or streaming content that many of its customers don't even use.

Zero savings is passed to the customer, everything I'd like to see say long wait.. Thanks for nothing Netflix..

byteme

Currently, it looks like there are only 13 WB titles available for Netflix WI that were released more recently than 2007. That's a pretty poor selection of recent content, if you ask me. Hopefully once deals are made with other studios (which is now inevitable) the savings across the board from these deals will allow Netflix to greatly increase the selection of more recent titles for WI.

I personally can't wait for the day when physical discs fade away and everything is viewed via full HD streaming. It will be nice when one can just sit down with your remote and call up the movie/show you want without having to mess around with finding/storing a bunch of discs or waiting for one to arrive in the mail.

I only hope that, when that day arrives, Hollywood hasn't driven the cost through the roof in pursuit of obscene profits, like the cable industry has.

WI and the Roku are a step in the right direction, but Netflix needs to get on the ball and stream 5.1 audio instead of just the basic stereo now available. After that, all of the studios need to get on board and provide their content. The current selection of titles, though improving, is seriously lacking when compared to the number of discs available for rental.

kj

What a kiss ass interview. Personally, I've never had to wait longer then a week and I've been with NF since the beginning. Don't buy into this..it's always about the money.

Vic

Really kj? You think it's about the money?

How odd that a businessman would be concerned with how much money his company is making!

You have made SUCH an astute observation!

Mike D

I don't really care if I get a new release within 28 days since I have 40 titles on my queue anyway. What I WILL notice is a huge uptick in my "watch instantly" offerings.

Besides, if I NEED to see a title within 28 days, I'll walk down the street to my nearest Redbox.

Between Netflix/Redbox/Hulu/OTAHD, I don't miss DirecTV one bit.

is an instance of class Action

they better watch out for silly lawsuits if netflix calls a month old dvd a new release dvd

TJ Riordan

What doesn't the movie industry get? I don't want to buy your DVDs anymore. Especially not for $25. This is only going to drive more people to piracy instead of going through the legal renting channels.

Another shot in the foot by the MPAA.

Seth

@andyg8180

"Seth, the guy was on the spot... He probably is still wheeling and dealing for new movies... how would you expect him to say what movies WB is going to offer?"

Andy you're right on point about that.

But I definitely need to repeat that compare what Ted is saying to the fact Netflix hasn't said jack about this to their customers. If you are their average customer, you're not in the slightest bit aware of the change and Netflix hasn't said a word about it on their website. You go to the "Invention of Lying" on the website and as far Netflix customers are concerned the movie comes out on 2/16/10.

Look, I'm not expecting Netflix to punch themselves in the face, but I also have always appreciated that Netflix is a customer conscious company that respects the intelligence of its customers. Saying "This is one of those rare deals where there really are no losers" while being circumspect about it to customers...

C'mon. That's just insulting our intelligence.

I'm sure the argument has been made at Netflix that "Oh we can't tell them because they will misinterpret it for something it's not blah blah blah."

Well, I've heard the argument about how we're supposed to interpret it and frankly it's not very convincing. Ya know, if the shoe fits, wear it. They're clearly worried that customers will be pissed and that's because they should be. Not because they "won't understand."

/rant

Seth

GREAT interview Mike. Thank you despite my lack of agreement with Ted's comments.

Kam

A contributor to this forum once made a point. I am going to do my best to restate this point.
----------------------------------------------
I have access to a DVD library of 100K + titles. I pay Netflix for storage, management, and delivery of this library.
----------------------------------------------
I had never really perceived it like this. I do now. Netflix provides me access to a wealth of content at a fair price. The "value add" of streaming content has given me the ability to pull from "my" library on the spot.

I love movies. I want to watch them. Sometimes I want to watch light hearted formula romps, sometimes I want to watch classic samurai or western pictures that, in my 27 years, I haven't seen before. No cable company, B&M or kiosk has ever been able to meet my needs the way Netflix does. Sure, I have my very long waits (now +28 days :), the occasional scratched disc, but does anyone do it better? Is there an alternative to Netflix? I don't think so. That's my opinion.

L

Interesting that the second my account went from a free trial to a regular subscription, movies that were previously listed as Available are now listed as Short Wait, Long Wait, and Very Long Wait. I've been a member before so I'm aware of Netflix's tendency to lure people in, but this is ridiculous.

I actually wouldn't mind waiting the 28 days for a new release if it was guaranteed I might actually receive it around that time. I'm tired of waiting 3+ months for movies. I'll still keep Netflix because it's the best deal around, considering my library orders maybe one copy of each new release, but it will never be what it was several years ago. It has simply grown too big.

The streaming movies would be an fine option if they actually worked with my connection. I live in an area of the country that only allows satellite internet and Netflix won't work with it.

Will H

I read quite a few comments posted. My overall impression is that most didn't get it why Netflix needs this deal. It's not about bottom line folks. It's about growth and survival. To grow, NFLX needs to expand base, find the money and get the most return. NET is the direction. INSTANT is the direction. Then there is HD, various platforms (wii ps3 xbox...). Doing all these needs money. This deal is a good balanced act, low cost, low risk, potential high reward. NET provides lower cost and instant availability. Contents will ensure the users stay onboard after the initial geeky "look ma no hands" stage. To do that, deals like WB is needed. Make sense to me.

Seth

Will,

I think it's obvious to everyone they're doing what's best for Netflix. People are responding to Ted's comments where he says how great this is going to be for everyone.

I have personally said that I give Netflix no more than 18 months to be either acquired or merged. I don't think it's possible to be in this industry as an independent anymore. The deal with Warner is a major concession for a company that has long bought DVDs any way it can to get around the studios.

Shivvy

"Sin Nombre" was shot in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio but the streaming version supplied by Universal is cropped to 1.78:1. Turned it off as soon as I saw it was cropped.

The HD streaming options are great, but when they aren't in the original aspect ratio I'm just not interested.

Edward R Murrow

Sarandos: On a net basis it absolutely improves new release availability.

George Orwell 1984: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength

Are any sheeple buying into this? Really?

Shivvy

A bunch of Warner titles are up for streaming now and many I'm finding are listed as HD. The first two I pulled up were of HORRIBLE quality and both 2.35:1 titles ("The Iron Giant" and "The Goonies") that are cropped to 1.78.1.

If I can always assume that streaming titles will not be available in their original aspect ratio, I'll hold out for dvds & Blu-rays.

tsrblke

@ERM,
I don't take that as double talk persay. He's saying they'll be able to buy more discs when they can release them. Many of us keep New releases at the tail end of our Queue until the Red text of waiting goes away. So this may actually be a net gain for those of us who do that (suppose before it took 6 weeks for that to happen. If it happnes in 1 after the 4 week waiting period, I've gained a week.)
That being said, since new releases aren't my primary NF joy, this doesn't negatively affect me. Positive effects will remain to be seen.

me

Nice interview.

Hey, Mr. Sarandos, you're going to lose money from me if this deal goes through.

My wife is already complaining about the long wait for new releases she wants to see. I rented from Redbox for the first time last month because Terminator:Salvation was in a terminally long wait status with Netflix... We've subsequently rented about 6 more movies since then, specifically new releases that Redbox has in stock and Netflix can't get me in a reasonable amount of time... So, I'm already thinking of dropping to a lower subscription level and giving that extra money to Redbox.

Agree to a 28 day delay window and you may lose me as a customer entirely while I go back to torrenting movies instead.

Nathan

If you're looking to get the newest releases as soon as possible, then Netflix isn't the service for you. I've been a Netflix member for a few years now, and the latest releases have always taken a few weeks/months to get to me.

I dig Netflix for its insanely huge movie library, low cost, and convenience. And the Instant Viewing option is quickly becoming my favorite aspect of the service, so anything that increases the number of Instant Viewing titles, is great by me. Eventually, streaming movies will be a major player in the rental market, and it's great to see Netflix be an innovator of this service. So, this deal is nothing but positive for me.

John B

I'm one of the guys who really liked and took advantage of new releases being available immediately, not wanting to race to the video store on the day of release *hoping* to get a copy. If its simply a matter of keeping the prices low, then I could buy into the idea. But other than that, this deal only benefits the studio and Netflix. And sorry.. spinning Netflix as a "subscription service" and not a "rental service" doesn't fly with me. If I didn't have such a hatred of Blockbuster's business practices I'd switch over. Luckily for Netflix, their incredible selection will keep me around for a while I guess.

Bast

Having more streaming titles means nothing to me - being hard of hearing and not having access to captioning makes streaming useless to me. I just dropped my account from 4 @ a time to 2 @ a time.

scJohn

The one new thing that I learned from the interview, and this is reading between the lines, is how NF goes about ordering discs for new releases. I always thought they would place an order for X number and that was it. Apparently they do an initial order and then depending upon demand they will go and order some more.

Until they make huge improvements in the quality of their steaming product - 720p, DD 5.1 and OAR I will not use their streaming service. Why watch streaming when it's not even DVD quality. I guess you get what you pay for.

Bumblebee

This isn't an attempt by Netflix to make money, its an attempt by Warner Bros to stay alive. People just aren't buying DVDs anymore, and the goal here is to encourage consumers to get desperate enough to purchase a copy as opposed to renting it. Netflix needs to uphold its relationship with the movie studios, and so a little bit of flexibility is required. I would expect more deals like this in the future...as someone who doesn't really rent new releases, I don't mind at all; I'm just excited about the expanded streaming library...though I don't know if I would call "Caddyshack" the cream of the crop...

RLP

It is hilarious to me that all of you criticize the deal so wholeheartedly yet none of you are willing to cancel your subscription...

I guess, even in spite of a 28-day window, it still provides a net-positive customer experience to every one of Netflix's most vocal users.

How is this not a win for Netflix? They make more money, WB makes more money and what the customers give up is not nearly enough to even cause a statistically significant spike in churn rate.

Steve C

The delay about WB titles does not bother me. What I really don't like is the disks I get from Netflix/WB are bare-bones, no extras, rental-labled movies. I may not watch every director's commentary, but I like the deleted scenes and making-of features that are now missing. Nothing on Netflix's site warns us of this change, and a sample of movies I checked list all the extras as if they were still included.

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