- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Why Do People Sign Up For Netflix?

I don’t understand why people have Netflix [3] 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 [4])