Netflix appeared in Canada in the fall of 2010 for $7.99 a month, with the first month being free. Was I interested? Oh yea, you bet I was. I had heard about the U.S. version and was stoked we finally had Netflix in Canada. When I went to their site and checked the content offered to Canadians I was immediately disappointed. Netflix sucks, well the Canadian version at least. I can not fathom why so many technology fanboys on forums are/were fawning over this service (and their latest, cheapest iPhone plan) and why they so viciously attack those who disagree with their valuation of this product. What did I find when I looked at the content list via an application one of these fanboys created to show the newest content? Amazing and current selections such as:
- Angel and the Badman
- Wrath of the Titans (the cartoon version)
- A Walk in the Sun
- Captain Kidd
- Lady of Burlesque
- Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman
And worse. Not only had I never heard of much of the content there were no current television shows. They do have Merlin now – season 1 (Merlin wrapped up season 3 this year in Canada). They also have a ton of old (seasons 1-5 of Kids in the Hall). I’m supposed to pay to watch re-runs and discontinued programming? Wait, I can do that already watching television or over the Internet …
More devices means Netflix sucks.
I then learn I have to buy some sort of electronic device that will allow us to stream this product into our television? What? I have to buy something to use this product? We already have a T.V. and a DVD player – we need more? You can use devices such as PC, laptop, PlayStation (PS3), Nintendo Wiis, Xbox 360, iPad, iPhone etc to stream from Netflix. Some newer Internet-connected HD televisions and Blu-Ray players are also able to stream Netflix. Our TV is not HD – it is a 32″ beast. We have base pay as you go cell phones we use. I gave up console video games over a decade ago. But we do own laptops! Do I think the content on Netflix is worth the time it will take me to figure out how to hook my laptop into Netflix and I presume my laptop into my television – not to mention figuring out which do-dads and cables will be compatible to accomplish such a goal? Now, someday soon I may figure out how to watch free TV from the Internet on the TV and lose the television, but certainly not for the Netflix content. Not while Netflix sucks.
I guess I think of the current service by imagining alternatives that I also wouldn’t see value in …
For example, perhaps I offer a Netflix subscriber the chance to receive the Globe & Mail for $8 a month. In return I give you 20, count em – 20, Globe & Mail daily newspapers, but they’re from 2009. The financial section is something I think many readers would have interest in, so, assuming “rules” are the same for this that and the other thing financial, the columns provide some value to the buyer (how to deal with ETFs, RESPs, Mortgages etc). Reading the newspaper is, for some, entertaining too. The thing is, you can get this item you may want at your local library for no charge if you so desire. You can also get free movies and television, legally, assuming you have an Internet connection (which you need for Netflix anyhow).
So is the Netflix product worth $8? Not really – neither is outdated newsprint.
Bringing it back to Netflix sucks discussion, the “content” costs $8 a month. Thing is, between your local library, the Internet where I can watch it online, and re-runs on TV – a LOT of the content seems to be readily available if you dig a bit. New content can not be found on the Canadian version of Netflix for your $8 a month. For about $10 per month you can get the movie channel and watch pretty new releases. Seems like a better deal if you are a movie junkie.
Now, to the subject of the TV bill. Massive isn’t it? However, television content is current, and, chances are good whatever is shown on Netflix may show up on my TV service as well. That, or the Netflix content, as it stands, won’t be carried by the TV companies as it won’t garner viewership (read: attract advertising) mainly because the content carried by Netflix, sucks here.
My take is that Netflix.ca is a new toy. People get uber excited about it but will quickly bore of it. It is happening now given posts I’ve read at the RFD forums from people who care to say nothing aside that they are disappointed with the content and have cancelled their (free) subscription.
A good idea is to use you current access to media you already use to find these shows or movies. To take that $100 a year and put it toward your mortgage, RRSPs, investments, RESPS, TFSAs – donate it to charity, to those in need. When Netflix actually provides you with content you can not get elsewhere for less than you already pay – spend your hard earned money in places that will benefit you or others you care about.
The alternative is spending more time in front of the television simply due to the fact there is something on the TV you have not (or maybe have) seen even if it is awful content. Work on your relationships, friendships, family, house, investments, personal grooming, your pets – the important things. After that, take care of the little things – trimming your nails, cleaning the toilet, raking the yard – things that need to get done, but are not super important.
I think things like buying more home than you can afford, paying for parking tickets when you park beside a fire hydrant, and purchasing this particular product – are not smart financial moves.
To those who chose this product, the best to you. To those who read my take as someone who won’t buy Netflix (now) and noticed that a number of people who have tried this service are equally discontent with the content, I hope some of my rambling helps. I’ll check in on the Netflix content again in a few weeks months to see if the content has improved. I’d much prefer to pay $10 a month like our US cousins do for their Netflix subscription for awesome, current programming vs paying my current cable bill. Now that service would be a deal.