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Comments

Mike

Are we getting punished for being on the 8-out plan? I'm on BB 8-out at a time and I beleive I am being penalized.

Joe

Like Sam, I have become quite irritated with Netflix's allocation system for new releases, and their obvious disregard for legacy subscribers. A friend, who lives in the same zip code in Chicago as I do, recently signed up for Netlix and had an experience similar to the one Sam documented above when he set up a new acoount. Many new releases that I was unable to get through my longstanding account were easily available to my friend, a new Netflix customer. I understand why Netflix does this -- they want to fool new customers into thinking that they will always be able to get the new releases they want, and they bank on the idea that once the service becomes a habit for their longstanding customers that they will grin and bear the wait for newer titles. As a result, in part, I have changed my 5-out plan to 3-out (mainly because of the price increase a few months back), and now I get my new releases at the Blockbuster store in my area. I remain a Netflix customer because they continue to have a better, deeper selection of older titles than anyone else. However, I will consider switching to Blockbuster.com when they set up a distribution center in Chicago (currently Blockbuster ships from Minneapolis -- a two-day turnaround, at best). I tried the Blockbuster.com trial during their beta test a few months back and found the slow shipping time to be unacceptable, but I really liked the 2 in-store coupons that are part of their online product. Also, I noticed during the beta test that Blockbuster.com was slow to add new releases to the site, especially new-to-DVD titles, unlike Netflix (they add them in advance, as most of you here probably already know). If Netflix doesn't find a way to make it first-come-first serve to ALL their subscribers, new and old, they are going to suffer in the long run.

Mike

Well this sucks. I was just about to Cancel BB 8-out and go back to Netflix 5-out because of the lower pricing. I was under the impression that netflix didn't do this anymore.

manuel

Basically, your saying Sam is full of shit. Netflix must love you for the same reason the Republican party loves Rush Limbaugh.

MMMDI

I've been with Netflix on the 5-out for about four-five months. The longest I've had to wait for a movie was a week, and that was for one of those hugely popular, everybody-and-their-mother-wants-to-see-it movies. Everything else, I've been able to get with ease, maybe a day or two with a wait.

As of right now, I have 287 movies in my queue... a mix of popular mainstream films and underground films.

Very Long Wait- 3
Long Wait- 3

Two of those Very Long Wait's were just released on DVD yesterday, but they weren't high enough on the priority list for me to attempt to get them on release day. If the normal pattern continues, they'll be back to "Now" within a few days.

Ask Bjørn Hansen

We have about 450 movies in queue; 3 are on "long wait" and 1 is on "short wait".

No problems with movies on wait; but Netflix has been taken a day or two more to receive and process the movies we send back than they used to.


- ask

Brandy

I had spotless mind at the top of my queue since it was released ("long wait" for about 5 weeks). I have rented tons of movies since then (can't see now because the netflix site is down AGAIN). I finally got fed up and had a friend rent it on his 3-out plan. It arrived immediately. Perhaps it could be a function of queue length? His is about 30, mine's about 250.

NetfliX Lover

this doesnt seem to happen to me at all.

2 yr subscriber

1 day turnaround to/from distribution center:

at the 3 out plan i am averaging 12-18 movies per month.

I usually get a new release (or 2) shipped out almost every monday and delivered on the tuesday it is released. (this week - the stepford wives , watching it now)

So, almost every tuesday, i have "THE" new release i "MUST" see.

I dont waste any time looking at shelves and shelves of lame selections at an annoying chain store.

now, all that for $18

who could complain?

not me!

Aron

I suspect they've lost money on Sam, so I'm sure the love/hate relationship is mutual.

I won't deny some truth to the preferential treatment conspiracy theory, but I can't help but think the anecdotes online are spiced up a bit by the paranoia of "I am really gigging them here, are they really gonna keep feeding me this many movies?"

Aron

BTW, I love that "I signed up 8 people, but now I've made 10 people quit" line. Funny stuff. I'm surprised he managed to keep his caps lock off.

Peter

I haven't had a movie listed as long or short wait in months. It used to happen much more often.

I can see Netflix's problem here. There are only so many copies of the movies to go around and they want to give the new customers the best experience they can in the beginning. It's a fine line. Comapnies seem to put too much emphasis on acquiring new customers when it is cheaper and more efficient to keep the old ones happy. The flip side is, customers will always leave, sometimes for reasons not under your control so you always have to look for new ones.

It seems like Netflix is doing a pretty good job of balancing this. Maybe once the BB/Wal Mart/Amazon wars are over the situation will improve.

Wendy

Long time listener, first time caller.

I've been a Netflix subscriber since 1999, with an 8-month or so sabatical about a year and a half-ago (when, unfortunately, I lost my "4-out for $19.99" contract that i had been grandfathered in under), but I digress. I'm on the 3-out plan. I go through 10 or so discs a month and I have 244 titles in my queue and none of them are on any kind of wait. Which I think is a vast improvement because my first few years in there would be about 10% of my queue that was on some kind of wait.

Mikek

I am NOT saying that Sam is full of it. I gave Sam the chance to share his experience, and I also shared mine. The difference is that I'm on the 3-out plan and he's on the 8-out, so there might be a difference. I threw it out as a question so other people could contribute.

All in an effort to be "fair and balanced." :-)

Mark

I'm doing the 3-out plan. I've noticed in the past 2 months that NetFlix has been sending me new releases faster. It's worth asking if they are getting more copies from the studios these days. I've also noticed that my new releases are coming out on the gray DVDs. The ones with just the movie title, the studio name and the netflix logo. Not the retail versions of the DVDs. As I said, they may simply be getting a lot more copies. Besides, it's not like they can't predict demand. Most of us have these new releases in our queue before they are actually released.

For reference, I get mine out of the Worchester, MA center.

JohnX

Mark, do these gray discs look like home-burned ones? :)
Any idea how many copies they buy of new rentals? Must be in the thousands. It's a lot of inventory to carry.

RAYMOND KNIGHT

I used to like NETFLIX but my opinion of them has changed over the last couple of months. They have now managed to lose two of my DVDs as well as sending me a cracked DVD. I am lucky to get 16 a month on the two-out plan. I believe they are messing with my account. This bit of "shipping the next day" is another way to mess with me. I think they are not shipping out the missing DVDs. I think this is another method to cancel accounts of people who have to great a turnaround.

Angelo

I recently received and returned Spotless Mind. I've been a member since 2002 and I'm on the five-out plan. Netflix is making lots of money off of me because I end up getting 1 or 2 movies a month. No time to watch them. They could send out new releases to people who have short renting histories.

Sonja

I'm on the three out plan and I did notice that Van Helsing was listed as Very Long wait for about three weeks, and now it's listed as available NOW in my queue. I don't really care, because I have so many other movies/television shows in queue that I just switch titles around if need be.

I've only been with Netflix for about 9 months, but I've been able to see some of the newer releases pretty quickly. I tend to receive my movies by Wednesday or Thursday, watch them on Saturday and Sunday then mail them back on Monday. I watch about 12 movies a month on average.

I currently have 160 movies in my Queue.

108 are in my Queue
52 in the DVD's awaiting release
1 is Short Wait - (Shrek 2 which is no surprise)
5 tiles will be released in the next couple of weeks.
Which leaves me with 102 movies to switch around if need be.

Truthfully I don't know why folks fuss about not getting new releases right away. When I used to rent movies from Blockbuster (going to the video store, and grabbing movies off the shelves) usually you would not get the new releases for about 2-4 weeks depending on how good a movies is, so why should new releases for Netflix be any different?

The easy and obvious solution is not to have new titles as your first 3 titles in your queue. Rent something else, and just wait it out. I'm sure Blockbuster and Walmart have the same issue, and if they don't, then I stand corrected.

I know better than to think I will get a new release right away, and I just wait. I did not see Breakin' all the rules until this past weekend, White Chicks is further down my list and I know I will see that by December, and when Sex in the City Season 6 Part 2 comes out I know it will be a few weeks before I can see that, so I have other titles to view in the meantime.

Jeff

A Netflix subscriber here, virtually from day one, and one of their few remaining (or so they told me) "4 Out at a Time" subscribers... as I refused to be downgraded or upgraded and pay more.

That aside, I bring to the table one issue that hasn't (I think) been addressed here before.

Lately, many of the discs I've been getting have been copies of original DVDs that Netflix (I presume) has gotten permission to reproduce/duplicate. These discs are always gray in color, with just the title and the Netflix logo imprinted on them.

All well and good... I really couldn't care less if I get a copy as opposed to a studio manufactured disc. However, it appears that many of these "homegrown" copies are lacking features and supplements that were included on the original. One recent rental (the 50's potboiler "Peyton Place") contained a commentary track, but was missing a documentary, newsreel footage, etc.

So now, this brings two burning questions to the table:

1) If NETFLIX has permission to burn extra copies of movies, then... in effect... there should NEVER be a short, long or very long wait for ANY movie... as they can burn copies on an as-needed basis.

2) If they don't have permission, and they're ALSO deleting extra DVD material for reasons unclear (perhaps homegrown DVD disc capacity doesn't allow?), then this further convolutes things. I mean, we're paying for a full-feature DVD rental and getting quite something else... basically a Netflix version of a movie instead of the studio produced version.


Does anyone have further info regarding these gray Netflix produced DVDs?


JohnX

Jeff, are these discs purplish or are they golden? If they're the former they were duplicated and, if the latter, replicated just as the studios would have. There should be no quality issues. As for content, most (90%) of the commercial discs are dual layer and can accomodate the extra material. Can you tell me what the total length of the "gray" movies is (in total minutes)?

Rob

No complaints on wait time -- they've really improved on this front, at least for me (Hartford ditribution center). I feel like they've made an extra push to make sure things are always available (ie, they're buying more copies).

Frank

I have been on the 8 out plan for over a year now and I've never had this problem. Recently I've received the SE versions of Dazed and confused and Fast Times the day that they were available. Same with the Scorsese collection, the day it was first available it shipped. I really can't say there is favoritism other than maybe I am really close to a distribution center (Santa Ana). The only one in my queue of 84 that is a very long wait is American Graffiti.

Joe

BB Email I received:

Because of loyal members like you, BLOCKBUSTER Online™ has surpassed our growth expectations. While we're thrilled so many movie fans have turned to BLOCKBUSTER Online, The Movie Store At Your Door™, we know our rapid growth may have impacted our service to you.

We recognize the need to continuously improve and we are taking the following steps to do just that:


FASTER SHIPPING

The U.S. Postal Service will now notify us when the envelope containing the DVD you are returning has been scanned in. This means we will send you your next movie before we actually receive the returned one. This means quicker turnaround times for you.


We are adding 10 new shipping locations in the coming months to speed more movies to your door.

MORE COPIES

We are buying more copies of both new releases and old favorites. This should reduce the time you wait for your favorite titles to ship.

PLUS, 2 BONUS E-COUPONS

We appreciate you using our service while we work to make improvements. We have added TWO E-Coupons to your account. These coupons are in addition to the coupons you receive every month, and they can be redeemed for FREE in-store game and movie rentals at participating BLOCKBUSTER® stores.


Get your E-Coupons now and treat yourself to a DVD, VHS or game today. Again, thank you for supporting BLOCKBUSTER Online as we continue to improve our service.
Sincerely,

Shane Evangelist
Senior Vice President and General Manager,
BLOCKBUSTER Online

Mike

I just received that email too!

Aron

Man they are out of control. Let me know when they start giving away cars and vacations.

Are either of you in 1-day shipping areas? Have you somehow indicated to them a displeasure with shipping?

Mike

Both neflix and BB's closest shipping center to me is in CO so its the same 2-4 day shipping from both of them.

Don

My paramount problem is returns.

The US Postal inspectors have cetified that my returns were placed in Netflix PO box very early on a particular morning. Netflix acknowledged the returns TWO business days later.

Their PO Box is 5 miles from me.

My earlier service was overnight - always.

vn

Having the post office scan your mail and send the confirmation to BB is VERY expensive. I don't know how they can pull it off. That said, BB's strength is the 2 in-store coupons which allows you to check out new rentals from nearby b&m in case there's a long wait online.

Jeff

For JohnX -

I've gotten about a dozen "gray" generic-looking DVDs in the past six months, ranging in length from under 90 minutes to 158 minutes ("Peyton Place.")

In all cases, the front of the DVD will simply feature the movie title (always in the same generic font) with the Netflix logo underneath. No studio logos, no copyright info., no Dolby logos, etc.

Are you suggesting that the studios are providing Netflix with discs specifically manufactured for rental use only?

(All this aside, the "Peyton Place" disc was missing about 90 miuntes of extra material available on the store-bought version. I didn't check extra content on other "gray discs" as I wasn't interested in the supplementary material, but now I wish I had!

jeff

The Truth

Folks, this is old news:

http://dvd-rent-test.dreamhost.com/

The more frequently you return your movies (that is, the more movies you get per month), the more likely you are to get waits.

As for the 'grey' disks, rest assured that NF has permission to do whatever they're doing. They have over 2 million subscribers. At least a *few* of those have to work in or near movie studios. How long would they get away with doing anything unauthorized?

Rocket Punch

BB user here.
I think the best feature (IMO) is now those BB coupon can rent games as well as movies, I mean that is like $10 bucks right there for me. The email we got is (IMO) just some PR thing to retain customers.

Robert P.

I got the Blockbuster e-mail today too and I am super happy (because I'm going to use my coupons to rent two games, providing me an extra savings of $13.02!!!). Blockbuster Online rules. By the way, I get my DVDs next-day and I live in Berkeley (my distribution center is in Sacramento).

JohnX

Jeff, that's what I have heard, that certain studios allow Netflix to produce rental only DVDs. Some are explicitly marked as Rental Only. Anchor Bay seems to be the one making the gray silkscreened ones. I think it's highly unlikely but I was wondering if Netflix could be duplicating ("burning") some discs rather than replicate them. If that were the case, that could explain less content as dual layer is easier with replication (DVD-9). Another problem with duplication is burned DVDs are not compatible with all players. Thanks for your info.

lawilson2

I am very convinced that Netflix is messing with me when it comes to TV series (I posted about this a couple of months ago on another site, and it has gotten worse). I've finally seen all of the Stargates seasons 1-6. A few weeks ago, the Season 7 came out. Disc one wasn't available to me until late last week. Yesterday, disc 2 was showing as "Now." Now that I've sent back two movies and am ready to get two more, they put disc 2 as "short wait." They did this before, and what ended up happening is that I received discs 3-4, which I had to hold because I couldn't watch them out of sequence; thus they slow down my rentals. I don't believe this is a coincidence, because it has happened too often. A suggestion I received is to take all of them out of my queue except the ones I am able to get, so that they don't send me the discs I can't watch now. I don't understand how or why they choose to do this, but it's quite upsetting, and they will lose a customer soon for it. I don't HAVE to be a subscriber with them, and they should treat me more valuable (especially since I have a Hollywood and Blockbuster within 2 minutes of me).

I can assure you that the only way customers are treated any differently is by how frequently they return DVDs, and that only matters for DVDs whose demand exceeds supply.

NF does not use 'burned' media - that is, DVD-R, -RW, +R or +RW. They only use 'pressed' disks. If nothing else, they're simply far more durable and in large quantities cost a lot less.

Sonja

Why are people trying to make themselves Netflix victims? I can't help but shake my head when I read "I'm convinced that netflix is messing with me" line that some people post.

Granted when you order TV shows you want to see them in order. I just had that happen to me as well, I rented OZ Season 3, it's a 3 disc set, and I was expecting to get all three at the same time. Instead I only got Disc 1 of Season 3 and two other movies. But I did not get bent all out of shape. I watched the Disc 1, and returned it. Oz typically will show some highlights from the last show, so when I got Disc 2 and 3 I just watched the preview highlights and kept on enjoying the series, and my 1 additional movie (Breaking all the Rules).

Just because a movie is in OUR Queue does not mean we are the only ones interested in watching that TV show or movies on DVD. You may be planning to watch a certain movie title or TV show on a certain date etc, but so could someone else.

Justin

Blockbuster Aims to swallow up Hollywood Video for 700 Million in Buyout.

You may have remembered my article on competition and branding a few weeks ago.
Maybe Blockbuster read my comments on how Hollywood is stealing their core market from them. (I'm sure they didn't but that's okay.) I questioned why they were getting into the online dvd rental market in the first place instead of defending core market. This buyout would mean Blockbuster would own over 50% of the world wide movie rental industry. This move (if) they can pull it off will solidify Blockbuster for years to come. Just like Gerber's, Wrigley's and Intel's positions are firmly cemented. This move is good for Netflix, however. Blockbusters management will have their hands full implementing this move. Imagine having to manage the focus for 9,000 stores plus all of the Hollywood Stores. Netflix will be able to keep their eye on their core market. The Online DVD Rental Market.

Here is an interesting note. Will Blockbuster be smart enough to keep the Hollywood name? It would be a disaster if they tried to convert Hollywood Video Stores into Blockbuster Stores. For a couple of reasons. 1.) A lot of customers use Hollywood as an alternative to Blockbuster. Maybe they had a bad experience with Blockbuster, or maybe they just like the brand offering of Hollywood better. If those customers do not like Blockbuster, they will not be happy if their Hollywood Stores are converted into Blockbuster stores. 2.) If you notice most Hollywood stores are locating very close to Blockbuster stores, as an alternative. What would be the point of having 2 blockbuster stores within 100 yards of each other? I have a feeling they will keep them, but with Blockbuster you never know. Thanks for reading. Here is the rest of the news-story.

Blockbuster Inc. has offered $700 million for rival Hollywood Entertainment Corp. in a deal that would extend Blockbuster's position as the world's largest movie rental company.

Blockbuster said in a news release Thursday it has "expressed an interest" in acquiring Hollywood Entertainment for $11.50 per share, a 17 percent premium over Hollywood Entertainment's closing price of $9.80 on Wednesday.

"We believe this proposed transaction better positions Blockbuster to compete in the rapidly changing home entertainment marketplace, while simultaneously benefiting consumers as well as Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment shareholders," said John Antioco, Blockbuster Chairman and CEO.

Hollywood Entertainment owns and operates more than 1,920 Hollywood Video superstores and 600 Game Crazy specialty stores. Blockbuster has about 9,000 stores worldwide.


JohnX

In quantities of thousands, I agree pressing would be cheaper than burning. Any idea of the quantities involved?

vn

I don't know about BB having its hands full. Starbucks seems to be having its hands full too but they seem to doing OK. Maybe this will give them some leverage with the studios and help their online business.

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