So, Netflix went ahead and raised their prices. And then announced they’re splitting their business into two, one for streaming and one for the old fashioned DVDs-by-mail service. And then the Internet lost its collective shit. It’s not that people are deciding they don’t want to pay the extra money and canceling their subscriptions quietly. That’d be fine. That’s the right of the consumer in a democratic system where every dollar spent is a miniature vote approving the job that the company is doing. But it’s the incessant complaining on every social media platform about the price hike that’s been fucking annoying. The only bigger White Whine you’d see is if Facebook made a slight change to the home page without warning anyone. (Oh, wait.) Look at any blog, status update or Tweet about the price hike, and the vitriol on display suggests that the Netflix CEO logged into their account, grabbed the next 100 DVDs on their queue, drove to their house, spilled them on their lawn, performed an interpretive stomp-heavy dance while singing a song with lyrics that are predominately “your mother is a whore,” making sure every DVD was cracked beyond repair, taking a bow and driving off, but not before loudly announcing that his next destination would be the residence of their sister, who he was going to fuck.
That, or if the CEO turned out to be Hitler. But he didn’t and he’s not. You see, guys: Netflix is a company that provides customers with a service, a service you do not need, a service you can actually live without. Remember when you couldn’t get any movie you wanted sent to you in a matter of days for an extremely low price? Or when complete series of TV shows weren’t available to watch from the comfort of your living room whenever you wanted? And yet, somehow, someway, you survived just fine. You would notate when your favorite TV shows were going to be broadcast and actually (gasp!) stay at home and watch them. Or you’d utilize your DVR to record a movie you wanted to check out later. Or you’d actually go to the theater. Or rent something. Or buy something. Or, I don’t know, go the fucking library and check out a goddamn book. The fact is, Netflix provides a service that people want to use. And they’ve done such a great job with that service that everyone now thinks it’s a ‘need’ instead of a ‘want.’ Meaning, of course, that the company’s in a unique and enviable position of being able to jack up that price, all the way up to the point where people are no longer willing to pay it. That’s just basic Business 101.
To say it’s the American Way would be to ignore thousands of years of humanity’s business practices; the first time was probably a caveman introducing a designer mallet that everyone just had to have. And also, there’s this: Netflix themselves are being charged to provide content. The studios renting out their movies to be streamed are bumping up their prices, meaning Netflix has two choices: (1) Keep prices where they’re at and hope customers are okay that the only options available to them are PBS documentaries and “movies” like Titanic 2 or Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus; (2) Netflix bumps their own prices to keep pace. Which would you rather pick? So stop getting angry, stop whining, stop posting on your blogs. No one gives a shit. If you think the price hike is too steep, cancel your service. But do so quietly. No one’s going to rally behind your, no doubt, long and hard decision to put a stop to how you watch movies and TV. This isn’t social reform. This isn’t a sweeping change in our society. This is what people complain about when they’re bored. In the meantime, how about you spend all that energy on, oh, I don’t know, something like gender equality. Or the Darfur genocides.
Or racial relationships, same sex marriage, the spread of HIV in Africa, the terrible famine in Somalia, or the homeless people down the block from you. At the very least, use that blog post to complain that it’s been five years and they still haven’t made that Arrested Development movie yet. You know, the important stuff.
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