This blog has made many references to the instant view or video streaming service offered by Netflix. I can comment with authority because I was one of the early adopters. The concept is sound and it has great appeal to me. In this digital age, I see little use for physical media. I have only purchased one DVD over the last several years, and that was because it came with a downloadable digital copy. So I was very enthused to learn that I could pick the movie or program I want and watch it when and where I want for a monthly fee that is much lower than cable. Unfortunately, the movie selection was atrocious, a mixture of old and new B movies. At first, I understood that only a certain number of movies could be made available as Netflix would work to license additional programs. Unfortunately, after several years, Netflix has made little progress in expanding their library. On the television front, there is more new content available, but on the movie front, it is still totally lacking. I would say that for every 20 new release, A class movies, there is one made available instantly. This is an unacceptable ratio. Despite this ratio, Netflix is driving its business with more of a focus on streaming versus physical media. They have pledged to spend more money licensing online content than they will for physical DVDs. Unless this investment is significant, I fear the ratio will only improve to 4 streaming to 15 physical A class movies.
What Netflix has actually succeeded in doing is use the desire for instant gratification to water down the expectation of quality. Millions of people are now content with getting excited about the “new” release of “the Next karate Kid” starring Hillary Swank or the release of season 2 of Barney Miller. As of today, I’m not content with the mediocrity of Netflix.