Reader Poll: Do You Subscribe to NetFlix?

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I’ll be honest, I did not see the success of Netflix coming. I thought it was a nice, cute DVD rental business that would probably be bought out by Blockbuster eventually, leaving their founders stupendously rich. But look around today: Blockbuster is bankrupt, and Netflix now has more subscribers than any U.S. cable or satellite provider, including Comcast.

That’s more than 24 million customers and growing (9 million added last year). Since the start of 2009, shares of NFLX stock are up 828% to $260 a share. Online streaming of Netflix videos now takes up 30% of all downstream bandwidth during peak hours. All those DVDs flying back and forth make up more than $600 million a year of the US Postal Service’s revenue.

I’ve been a customer of Netflix on and off during the last few years. I don’t watch very many movies in theaters, so when I feel like I’m falling behind popular culture references, I subscribe for a few months and catch up. The good thing is that Netflix makes it incredibly easy to stop, pause, and restart subscriptions. My “wanted” queue is stored. (You can only do the free month trial once per account.) I don’t own a Wii/PS3/Xbox and rarely stream video from my laptop, but I have noticed improvement in the selection available. How about you?

Do you use Netflix?

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Sources: BusinessInsider, Guardian

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  1. If they had a better streaming video selection I would subscribe.

    I used to be a member of BB online, but canceled that about 6 months ago due to limited usage.

  2. I’m pretty sure “long time” qualifies as much longer than a single year. I’ve been an almost constant member since 2003.

    The Roku is an excellent device for Netflix (as is the iPad), although the Roku fits more along your frugal lines – for $100 we used the Roku and Netflix (which we already had) to replace the $60/month cable subscription. It was originally going to be for just for a couple of months, but we’re on the third year now (I think?) of Roku and no cable – that’s a lot of money saved. Now we use Netflix and Hulu Plus (and Amazon Video), so we spend ~$20-30/month for those. We watch significantly more TV than movies.

  3. Graham Lutz says

    Of course! between Netflix and Hulu, there is NO reason to pay for cable!

  4. I normally subscribe in two-three month stints, then put my account on hold for three-four months. Rinse, repeat.

    There’s not that much I like to watch, but occasionally it’s nice to catch up on the handful of movies and TV shows I actually want to watch. What’s annoying though is their increasingly crappy bluray release schedule and availability, not to mention the increasing number of rental disks that don’t have bonus materials on them. I want the disks for the better quality video and audio, and if I’m going to spend extra for them, they darn well should have the content a bluray is supposed to have on it. Convenience and greed win over quality and fair play again.

    Their already sporadic schedule for adding the better quality anime and other foreign shows (except BBC, thank you BBCA for your efforts lately to get stuff over here) to either dvd or streaming seems to have come to a halt this year too (admittedly the market has crapped out, but there are several decent new series out on disk that netflix shows no sign of stocking). If netflix continues to shift focus to only streaming popular TV shows I may be done with them before long.

  5. We are longtime subscribers. We generally watch two movies per weekend and back in the day of Blockbuster eight DVDs per month for $15 represented really good relative value. We’ve worked it out so if we mail back a DVD on Saturday and put a new release at the top of our queue they will mail the new release to us Monday for delivery Tuesday, that way we avoid the long wait on new releases and get to see them right away.
    I also bought a Roku maybe six months ago and love it. The Netflix streaming selection isn’t great for movies, but is better for TV episodes and documentaries. They have like six or eight seasons of Sesame Street available to stream which comes in very handy in our household.

  6. I’ve never subscribed myself but I’ll admit to taking advantage of a subscription when house sitting or mooching off of my family’s streaming account in the past. I don’t want to encourage TV or movie watching as a primary pastime.

  7. We cut the cord years ago, and have not had pay TV for a few years. Now we use rabbit ears, Internet TV through WMC, and Netflix for all of our needs, and have more content than we can watch, so we are happy!

  8. I just picked a year for “long-time” subscriber because of the stat that over 1/3rd of current subscribers joined within the last year. This way I can see if blog readers align with that percentage, or if you all are early adopters.

  9. I only mentioned it because my perception of how long things on the internet have existed seems pretty skewed. I knew I’d been a Netflix customer for a long time, but it took searching through my email to realize it’s been 8 years.

  10. I just took a look at my Netflix account and I have been a member for 8 years. I have the 3 DVDs plan but I mostly use their streaming service.

  11. Joined in 2005. That year, I created a queue of movies about 100 titles long. Most of them are still there, because I usually just add stuff to the top of the queue and watch that. On the rare event that I actually haven’t added anything new to the queue and something from 2005 arrives in the mail, my reaction is often, “I can’t believe I actually put this #%&*! in my queue!”

    I’ve had a Roku box for about a year and a half now, and I love it. Dropped to the one-DVD-at-a-time plan and mostly watch TV series in order on the Roku. Keeping the one DVD for series that aren’t available for streaming, like Criminal Minds or anything from HBO (or very soon anything from Showtime.)

  12. LakeBreezeReads says

    I didn’t really like it because I felt too pressure to watch something every weekend to get my money’s worth, and maybe sometimes I just don’t want to watch a movie. Also the streaming selection is bad. I didn’t like only getting one disc of a TV show at a time with four episodes. If we are in to a show we can watch more eps than that in a weekend.

  13. vijaianand says

    I was a subscribe once upon a time thats about it. With kids, its tough to catch even some good sitcom like Men of Certain age in TNT. Imagine finding time to seeing movie in Netflix. I feel like you get obligated to watch the movie once it at home otherwise you don’t get to use the service that much and pay for it.

  14. Alexandria says

    Historically, we much prefer BB service for several reasons.

    BUT, last year we bought a new TV that hooked up directly to internet and decided to do the Netflix free trial. My spouse is a video snob, but we have fiber optic internet and quality was far better than expected. (Spouse prefers to watch nothing less than Blu Ray quality, for the most part). We have wii, roku, and direct TV connection. The *only* thing that we do not like about BB is no streaming, but the ease of streaming may lead us to eventually drop BB. Neither of us was a particular fan of netflix before all this streaming business. The streaming-only service is a very decent/cheap add on to our BB service.

    Between netflix + Roku, hell has frozen over and my dh is ready to drop cable. Thought I would NEVER see the day. Well, he is willing to *try.*

    I am not much into movies/TV/films, but the convenience factor is amazing. For example, I have probably never physically rented a movie in my life. Now, if I have the whim to watch a movie – I watch it. It’s that easy. Appeals to our *want it now* society.

  15. Mushroom Mike says

    Initially I bought Netflix as a present for my young son intending to perhaps keep it for a year to 18 months. That was about 5 years ago. Since then he has grown bigger and taller than me, and seldom makes use of Netflix.

    But I really like Netflix.

    I use it instead of watching TV. They have an excellent web site which I use with to select the best movies. In fact many of the movies that I have liked the most, are the ones that Netflix have suggested. I still have cable but only because of my wife. And she is the only one in the family that watches cable. I would prefer to drop cable. With Netflix I also get to watch many of the good series programs that are shown on HBO & Showtime etc.

    If anyone wants a free month to netflix they can email me at for a coupon code. During that month you can select 3 or 4 movies at a time, and then cancel at the end of the month if you want. My only request if you take me up on this offer, is to make “Inside job” one of your selections. This is a very good documentary on the banking crisis of 2008. For those of you who already have Netflix please watch it also.

    Thanks for your comments about the Roku Box.

  16. I picked long term but I only subscribed for the first time just over a year ago.

    I was a DVD collector starting with my first real paycheck in the Fall of 1999 and I saw Netflix as “competition”. I didn’t understand why people would rent movies instead of just buying them, and I refused to even try netflix.

    Well, flash forward a few more years, a lot more common sense, a mortgage payment, car payments, wife and two kids… and I all but stopped buying movies about 4 years ago… but I love some netflix. 🙂

  17. Anyone compare a Roku box and an Apple TV? Both seem to stream Netflix, and I could play iTunes through the living room. I think AppleTV is 720p only, but that should be fine for streaming video at least right now.

  18. redlenses says

    I am a longtime subscriber.

    The Good:
    Streaming selection keeps improving, I can watch om TV via PS3 or Tivo.
    They were early adopters of BluRay and made it very affordable.
    Like people said, you can use it to catch up on movies and stop for a while if you want. They also have many differently priced plans to choose from.

    The Bad:
    The company increases prices without providing any new direct benefit. As the company becomes dominant, there is less competition to keep prices down. Example: They raised the BluRay fee by 400% for the same service you were currently getting. Last year they raised prices for all subscriptions again (by much more than inflation).

    They also remove features that people actually liked and used – like the friends list – where you could see what your friends are watching and what they thought of the movie – and you could recommend movies to friends.

    I love netflix, but I am not loyal – if someone else offered the same service at a better price, I’d jump ship.

  19. My daughter has a subscription and she logged into Netflix from my Apple TV few months ago. It is still working.

  20. 1. Member since May of 2000.
    2. We used to go to the movies 1-2 times a week. No mas.
    3. We are on an old carryover 4-out-at-a-time plan. When cooking we can go through over 24 movies in a month on just DVD.
    4. We disable our Directv during non-football season so Hulu, Netflix (both DVDs and streaming) are our main media entertainment.
    5. We use streaming through our Roku, Mac Mini Home Theater PC and Sony Blu-ray player.
    6. Streaming selection is decent – mostly good for watching shows and old materials. I do not care about seeing the latest films so the freshness of the content doesn’t matter to me.
    7. We sold our DVD collection about 4 years ago as we recognized we’d wasted money on it and had no need to own a film when a movie we wanted was usually 24 hours away.
    8. We’ve got only HDTVs but I see no value in 1080p for movies/tv so I don’t care about the quality of the image. For football, yes. For TV…could not care less.

    By my rough estimates we spend less than $240 a year on Netflix. In exchange we see well over 300 films per year (closer really to 350 or so).

    I am amazed blockbuster held on at all. I’m even more confused by the success of RedBox which, to me, is more expensive than Netflix and less convenient with a ridiculously small selection. I don’t frequent places with RedBox containers and have no desire to ever drive anywhere to get a movie (that alone will cost more than the Netflix rental).

  21. Rejoined Netflix in December of last year after years of being a non-member when I bought a Roku device. Streamed all the episodes of Nip/Tuck and all the available episodes of Dexter/Mad Men/Californication and then started getting on DVD the other seasons of Dexter, Californication, and Mad men. All these Showtime, HBO, Cinemax series eventually make it to streaming/DVD which is why I never subscribe to premium channels. Just wish more were available for instant steaming. I will eventually run out of movies I want to see via streaming/DVD and will cancel again and start over again at some point in the future. In the interim I will just use Redbox/BB Express.

  22. Allie Sparks says

    I love my Netflix subscription, though, like redlenses, I’d jump ship in an instant if someone else came along with something better or cheaper. I solely watch streaming stuff these days–I’m much more of an impulse watcher, and waiting for a DVD to show up in the mail sounds like agony. I’m happy that Netflix keeps increasing their streaming selection, and so far, I’ve always been able to find *something* interesting when I sit down in front of the TV.

    brkf: I’ve wondered at the success of RedBox myself, but it does fill a niche. It’s for those times you *really* want to see a newer movie tonight instead of 2-3 days from now. It’s far cheaper than Blockbuster, and for most people, closer. I’ve actually gone up to a RedBox kiosk myself a few times, thinking, “I’d really like to watch something tonight,” but I’ve never rented anything–my own tastes run to the more nerdy/science-fictiony movies, and RedBox mostly carries big-name blockbusters and romantic comedies.

  23. Tyrone Biggums says

    We subscribe for the summer. At other times, we typically watch first run shows or sports.

    Netflix is nice but I need to subscribe to the DVD option. We have a Blu-ray player, so it would criminal for us to use the low-quality streaming option.

  24. redlenses says

    Told you they were greedy, another huge hike in price with no added value was announced today. It now costs more for 1 dvd and streaming than it did for 3 blurays and streaming just 2 years ago…

  25. I’d love to understand why everyone keeps jumping on the “Netflix is greedy” bandwagon. This is one company who lives and dies on people who have them by the balls extremely tightly. Netflix can’t survive without content producers, and the content producers are pulling licensing from Netflix left and right. Netflix very likely got told to increase their prices or lose streaming rights.

  26. The plan I have is the 3 DVDs at a time for $20/month, which will go up to $24/month. I have two Roku players and am very happy with the streaming video. I will continue to use the service.

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