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Why Do People Sign Up For Netflix?

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Netflix Thumbs UpI don’t understand why people have Netflix subscriptions.

I never rent movies and when I do, I usually turn to the $1 a night RedBox vending machine at my local Giant. For $1.05 (MD sales tax is 5%), I get a recent release that I happened to miss in the theaters (I enjoy going to the movie theater, paying $9, and watching a movie with my girl) and most of the time I can find a coupon online that gives me the rental for free. That being said, I don’t really understand why people sign up for a recurring rental service when something like a RedBox exists (unless it doesn’t in your area). And no, Redbox isn’t paying me. In fact, if you sign up for Netflix through that link above, Netflix is paying me a commission so enjoy my brutal honesty.

Let’s take a look at the cheapest Netflix plan, $4.99 for one movie out with a maximum of two movies a month. That makes it $2.50 a movie with the only advantage being that you can have that movie for as long as you want. How likely is it that you’ll be watching that movie more than once? I’d say the probability of that is exactly 0%, certainly 0% within a one month period. Netflix says they can send out a movie within a business day, and let’s say they’re right, that means the lag time between when you order a movie and when you get it will be at least one business day. So, if you wanted to watch a movie tonight, you wouldn’t be able to unless you already had it in your hand.

Like I said earlier, I’m not trying to validate the RedBox video rental model. What I’m actually trying to do is understand the psychology behind why someone would use Netflix because everything I read about American consumerism seems to point towards RedBox and not Netflix. For example, Americans are impulsive. That means we don’t, in general, plan what we will watch on Thursday the Tuesday beforehand. We plan what we watch on Thursday night at around Thursday afternoon. Another point, Americans love cheap. Redbox is $1.00+tax a night, I will only watch the movie for one night, so it’s cheaper than Netflix. Why pay more just so I can have it sit around on my coffee table?

So, for all those folks out there that use Netflix… why?

(Photo by brymo)

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105 Responses to “Why Do People Sign Up For Netflix?”

  1. Jim says:

    I have the streaming plan for Netflix, and I like it. However, any new or blockbuster movie I want to see, I use Redbox. Why? Because I can get the Blu-ray and watch it in HD on my home theater system. Nexflix might be HD, but I certainly do not get the 5.1 surround sound that I enjoy on my system when watching a Blu-ray disc. That makes the rental worth the $1.30 plux tax that Redbox charges.

    And to those you who misuse the coupon codes or copy movies – thanks for jacking prices up for the us honest folks. You guys suck!!

  2. mandy says:

    sorry i’m a little late on responding, but i’ve never used the netflix move delivery system. way back when i had a blockbuster nearby, i participated in that system because i would get dvd’s of my favorite tv series sent to me one at a time to enjoy. then i could take that disc in the sleeve to my blockbuster and could rent any movie i wanted for the exchange, and keep it for however long that movie could normally be out (i think new releases had a couple days, older movies had about a week). great if i got busy and couldn’t watch it right away. but my closest blockbuster closed down a couple years ago. netflix started streaming, so i did that and watched a few movies but mostly documentaries and tv shows…on my computer at first, then through the wii i was given for christmas a year ago. there are times that i’m too busy to watch it much, but there are other times that it’s great entertainment that’s already paid for. i will still go out to a redbox and get a new”er” release than i can get on netflix. my only issue with redbox is that i tend to be forgetful and don’t always remember to return the disc for a couple of days…then it’s not very cheap… hope this helps!


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