Posted on March 14th, 2010 at 1:24 PM by Wan
Listen with webreader

What is Netflix? Why Netflix? Well, to be honest I just recently stumble upon with this web 2.0 application upon reading some advert on some blog post recently.  It distributes a huge quantity of visual information to its users and heavily depending on web 2.0 interface for interacting with its clients.  Facts and figures do count as it has more than 12 million subscribers and is the world’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet.  As a member, you can instantly watch unlimited amount of video content streamed to my TVs and computers anywhere, anytime, anyplace, and anyhow. Cool!  Not only that, I can also receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to my home address.  It grew so rapidly thanks to its users sharing their experiences to their friends which added more and more community features to its site.

Who owns the data? In the past, Netflix seems to own the data and faced a lot of problems such as acquiring a new customers were very expensive and the cost of sending DVDs to its members from their warehouse. Each DVD cost a lot. It’s difficult to satisfy each members as they want to be assured being able to get the latest and greatest movies.  With the introduction of Web 2.0, Netflix’s member owns the data. They choose the titles they want, when they want them, and enjoy the movies for as long as they like without compromising the quality of service.  Even though there are trying to improve their service progressively, there are still some issues faced by its customers such as the quality and streaming issues.  It is being understood that there are some problems when it comes to canceling Netflix’s subscription. Members have to call and check the date to ensure they do not get charged for an additional month. Meanwhile, the streaming issues relates more to the network traffic congestion faced by it members at a certain time during peak hours. It occurs due to the web routing problems within the Internet service providers (ISP) and within the member’s home network bandwidth connectivity.  There are also some problems in streaming different content with different kind of devices or platform.

Netflix do provide and support an open data movement. It provides services such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, XML, email as well as their blog support allowing enriching their data. They deal with copyright infringement issues using ARccOS copy protection scheme developed by Sony where the intention is to prevent copying the DVDs illegally. Furthermore, their intellectual property license, allows its members to abide privacy policy and accept the terms of use.

There are several advantages of using Netflix. There are as follows:

  • Membership can be cancelled anytime if members feel of not getting the most out of it. There are no contracts. You could go along with monthly term instead of committing a long-term.
  • There are new releases each week that provides members a wide variety of video content to choose from. Members can select from a growing collection of titles that can be watched instantly and a vast array of titles on DVD.
  • It has “Watch Now” option features that allow members each month to watch 3 movies from Netflix’s mail meanwhile, 9 movies to watch if viewed from the website.
  • It’s cheap and affordable to rent a DVD without having members to go to the video store. All can be done through their online web site.
  • There are no due dates or late fees in Netflix.
  • It supports variety of platforms.  Members can watch on their Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3 game console, Nintendo’s Wii console, Blu-Ray disc players, Internet TV, the Roku digital video player as well as TiVo digital video recorders.

Of course, I would be lying if there are no disadvantages in any web applications. Like they said, there is no such thing as 100% perfect system. Hence, some of the disadvantages I had found in Netflix are:

  • Lagging in shipping. When members select a DVD which is not available at the nearest Netflix facility, they will ship it the next day or sometimes later. Usually, they promised to send it out on the same day.
  • Some of the DVDs are unplayable. Some members had received broken, scratched and cracked DVDs which can be extremely frustrating especially when it has taken a long time to arrive to your doorstep.
  • The one copy syndrome where members have to set in queue for months due to a fact Netflix only carries one copy of certain DVDs.
  • Information overload! There is too much to choose from. Members have to spend hours browsing through Netflix’s recommendations trying to decide what to watch based on other users’ reviews.
  • Consequently, the temptations of watching “all Netflix can offer” are a bad thing if members do not have time to spend watching so many films. Reconsider before signing up for an account.

By doing outsourcing with major motion picture distributors such as Columbia TriStar and Warner Home Video, Netflix is able to provide the best data video among its members community. Indeed, Netflix explore ways to collaborate with the research community by improving their recommendations system so that they progressively improve the movie recommendations for its members.

Discussion with Netflix’s CEO

References:

  1. The Netflix Blog. (2010) Netflix. Retrieved 14 March 2010, from http://blog.netflix.com
  2. Amy Brantley. (2007). What Everyone Should Know About Netflix. Retrieved 14 March 2010, from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/270094/what_everyone_should_know_about_netflix.html?cat=40
  3. Anne of San Francisco. (2005). Consumer complaints about Netflix – Quality Issues. Retrieved 14 March 2010, from http://www.consumeraffairs.com/entertainment/netflix_quality.html
  4. The Official Netflix Website.(2010) Netflix-TV & movies instantly streamed online + DVD & Blu-ray rentals. Retrieved 14 March 2010, from http://www.netflix.com
  5. Shuen, A. (2008). “Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide.” 266.