Photo (cc) by Mr.Thomas
Have you noticed changes in your Netflix service? Are you still happy with it?
I’m asking because my Netflix DVD service has declined of late. I should add that the vast majority of films and shows I want to watch are on DVD and aren’t available for Netflix streaming.
When I first signed up, the service was great. I put the DVD in the mail, the next day I got email that it had been received and another movie was on the way. It arrived a day later.
It’s fluctuated a bit over time, but one day was the norm. Lately it’s gotten worse. For instance, a DVD mailed by Netflix on Tuesday with a scheduled arrival time of Thursday showed up on Friday instead. The email that my movie has been received now arrives two days after I drop it in the mail.
I have no idea why it’s happening. Maybe it’s the post office. Maybe it’s Netflix. Maybe it’s a temporary glitch. But obviously, if this trend continues, it will substantially reduce the value of my $8 monthly DVD subscription.
Here’s a potential clue: A company spokesman said in September that Netflix was closing a “handful” of distribution centers around the country, including one in Butte, Mont. (I live in Montana.) “Although he gave no time frame, he added that Netflix will continue to provide its DVD subscribers ‘uninterrupted service’ via 120 shipping points, including 39 hubs other than the Butte one,” The Montana Standard said.
Bloomberg Businessweek picked up where that story left off, under the headline “Netflix May Ditch DVDs Sooner Rather Than Later”:
The company declined to share any specific numbers around these closures with us, with a spokesperson only saying that “DVD continues to be important to Netflix and we want to offer our DVD customers the best possible service.” Previously, Netflix operated as many as 58 distribution centers.
A blogger for The Roanoke (Va.) Times observed earlier this year:
Since the closure of the Netflix distribution center on Chapman Street, I’ve noticed that my DVDs are a day slower to arrive. It used to be that if I sent out a DVD on Monday, I’d have one back on Wednesday. Lately, it is taking an additional day to receive DVDs.
Other publications have predicted the eventual demise of Netflix’s DVD service. Investor’s Business Daily said Netflix no longer promotes the DVD business, likely hastening its decline.
As of June 30, the DVD business had 7.51 million subscribers, down 470,000 from the first quarter. A year ago, the DVD service had 9.2 million subscribers. Two years ago, it had 15 million.
Businessweek adds, “The number of DVD subscribers fell rapidly when Netflix decided to split up its two offerings in the summer of 2011, essentially asking people to pay $8 each for its DVD and streaming plans, whereas it had previously offered both for the same price.” That really ticked people off.
The streaming side has about 30 million subscribers, so it’s clear where the future of Netflix’s business lies.
But what about loyal DVD customers? Are you still getting your money’s worth? Businessweek says that 47 cents of every dollar you spend for the DVD service is profit. (That’s before the post office rate increase takes effect next month.) Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.