Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free Advice for NetFlix

So maybe you've heard that NetFlix recently increased their prices by 60 percent, or that they tried to split their DVD service off into a horribly named company called Qwikster, or that they decided to abandon Qwikster after people complained, or that their stock tanked, or that they've lost millions of subscribers, or that their CEO is an idiot.

Yeah, I heard all of that, too, and I'm a big fan of NetFlix.  Or at least I was.  I just can't understand why this company's PR is so bad.  I mean, can't they just rent or stream a documentary to show them how to do better at PR work?

Since NetFlix is seemingly incapable of making common sense decisions, and more importantly since their idiotic management might mean that they go out of business which would then mean that I have to find some other way of getting instant gratification for movies, I have some business advice for NetFlix.

How to fix NetFlix

1. Apologize.  Sincerely this time - not at the same time as you're rolling out new changes.

2. Clearly explain why the prices were raised.  We understand if it's costing you an arm and a leg to stream movies.  We know we're in a recession. Yes, the people who you just raised the price of renting DVDs and streaming content on, the people whose unemployment rate is almost 10%, the people who are trying to put food on the table for their kids after food prices have gone up 20% this year and milk is frickin' $7 a gallon and gas is $3.39 and private school is expensive and the medical bills are piling up and... sorry, got carried away there.  The point is:  we understand.  You could have told us that it's costing you more, and we would have understood.

3. Be honest with us going forward.  We're not idiots.  The economy is in the tanker, and quite frankly we'd rather do business with people that treat us with respect.  Treat us like adults or we'll take our money elsewhere, as you're already finding out.

4. Buy some political capital.  Give the people who stayed with both your DVD and online streaming plans two free months.  Give the people who stayed with either your DVD or online streaming plans (but didn't cancel one of them) a free month.  Give the people who cancelled one of your services but still have the other half a month free.  Sure, your stocks will take a hit - in the short run.  But you're not in it for the short run, you're in it for the long haul.

5. Add some porn to your streaming service.   That way the next time you try to screw us we'll at least get to watch it, as part of our subscription.  Plus a lot of other companies do it to supplement their revenue, because Americans are not only fat and lazy but are also really "randy, baby, yeah!"

NetFlix, you can pay me back with a free lifelong subscription if this works.  But of course you won't, because, you know, you suck at PR.

In conclusion, there are people starving in this world, the Arab Spring is taking down dictators in the Middle East, there are diseases which could probably be cured if we had funding for them, but this isn't what American is pissed off about.  We're pissed off about our wallets!  We're a nation of merchants and consumers, and although we may be fat and lazy, we'll still get our asses off the couch (assuming nothing good is streaming tonight, since NetFlix lost the Starz contract) and take out a corporate regime or two when we get righteous enough about it.

Don't disappoint me, NetFlix.  And more importantly, don't make me watch cable.

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