Netflix streaming stagnating...
Today I just cancelled my NFLX streaming account. While I'm keeping my current 2 disc plan which includes blu-ray I have been increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of newly added content and the inability for NFLX to branch out from what they currently offer - which lets be frank - it is very limited... Not even my kids are happy with NFLX as they only have one Barbie program and very limited My Little Pony selections. We still must drive to the movie rental store for those. I think the corner Movie shops still do a good job of providing a decent selection of children's programming - our store rents those for free. So, the only cost is driving down there - although we often buy something else in the store just because we appreaciate the service and would miss it if it went away.
While we still enjoy streaming movies to several Roku boxes placed around the house, we've found that we get more out of two services Amazon and Crackle. As an Amazon prime member, they allow you a pretty wide selection of movies that you can watch for free over Roku and other terminals - just for being a prime member. The movies available to prime members have recently (last week) greatly improved and are now marketly better than the selection via NFLX. To a lesser extent we watch Crackle (because they have ads and unlike a majority of the general population out there, I prefer not to subject myself and my kids to that racket), but Crackle's movie selection is generally pretty good (particularly their Sienfield collection) and sometimes there is a movie that isn't available on AMZN. We'll also buy or rent other movies from AMZN on ocassion - perhaps 1 or 2 a month but that is sporatic.
Beyond these services, we use an antenna mounted on our house to receive broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, QUBO, etc. In all we receive about 32 channels from our antenna and while I can't watch every football game I want which is mildly irritating, I've become increasingly satisfied with just flipping on the radio if I can't watch it. I've actually found the radio play-by-play much better than most TV announcers. I also like the fact that often the radio sport casters are "home-teamers" - its like listening to the game told by devote fans of the team. So, lets just say, when a bad call is made, they don't sugar coat it on the radio - I really appreciate that!
Where does this leave NFLX? Perhaps they are too focused on expanding internationally and forgetting that they still have to deliver and ever improving service - that sounds a lot like the blockbuster of old. One thing they did recently, was pretty special - I recently rented "Riding Giants" but it wasn't available locally, so they sent it from Denver, CO and in the mean time, shipped off the next item in my queue (so I'd have something to watch while I waited for the surfer movie - which was awesome by the way). In this way, NFLX really has a classy and well oiled packaged media distribution business with extremely loyal customers - because like this past event, they really do take care of their customers. NFLX streaming business, however still has a long way to go - and I'd argue, AMZN is no longer chasing them, but has moved even if not already eclipsed. Some might call this a missed opportunity for NFLX - probably not going to help their stock price any. But, lets get real, no one company will dominate the streaming business. The sooner you come to this realization, the more grounded you will become. There is just too many moving parts for any one company to dominate - so just having a chip in the game (a decient service) may be the most one could expect. Also, content deals will come and go, so over time expect that streaming offerings will be cyclical - sometimes they will lack depth, other times - perhaps not so much... but for sure, no one company will consistently knock it ouf of the park.