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Thinking

How to Improve Netflix

Yes­ter­day I down­grad­ed our Net­flix account from three DVDs at a time to two. Have I got­ten so much as an email ask­ing me why? Nope! Net­flix may be the most suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny I use that does­n’t seem to care about cater­ing to their sub­scriber base. What makes me say that? Since I signed up, I can’t think of a sin­gle fea­ture they’ve man­aged to improve. You might say, “But they rolled out stream­ing for your pre­cious Xbox,” but even that came with its own set of prob­lems. Net­flix is absolute­ly nowhere when it comes to solv­ing the issues that would make their ser­vice bet­ter with­out the cost­ly expense of new con­tent.

Here’s what I’d like them to fix:

  • Shared queues. This is a great fea­ture that was spared the chop­ping block in the past year. It’s the thing that ensures that Helen and I share our account and that every­one gets their picks. His­tor­i­cal­ly, Helen’s got­ten two discs and I got one; she’d burn through sea­sons of TV while I slogged through art house flicks. It’s pret­ty great, right? It’d be even bet­ter if Net­flix could tell us which titles were on stream­ing for both queues, instead of just select­ing my queue and leav­ing it at that.
  • New releas­es. I get it. This is an embar­rass­ment that Net­flix wants you to for­get by bring­ing you more stream­ing con­tent. I’m not con­vinced. Even if we can’t have new releas­es for 28 days plus how­ev­er long it takes to get them to us, could we at least see what new stuff is out there, even if it’s just to point­less­ly update our queue. Is that so much to ask?
  • Social fea­tures. These were hor­ri­ble when they had them, but they might’ve improved them rather than wip­ing them out out­right. I know social fea­tures aren’t easy to do. It’s hard to know what peo­ple want. But I can’t think of any oth­er online movie ser­vice that peo­ple love more than Net­flix. I’m guess­ing the com­mu­ni­ty could’ve made help­ful sug­ges­tions. It would­n’t have had to involve much work prob­a­bly. At this point they could prob­a­bly get away with some degree of Face­book inte­gra­tion and let that plat­form do the heavy lift­ing.

Now, I’m thrilled that they’re lever­ag­ing their stream­ing con­tent to the max. Putting that stuff on any screen is great. I’ve heard plen­ty of peo­ple say there’s noth­ing good in the stream­ing library, but that’s just because they’re not real­ly into the art house con­tent. I love it! I can’t wait until I can watch an episode of 30 Rock on my iPhone as I ride the train. I just think that these tweaks will go a long way to improv­ing the ser­vice for the long haul.

So, go ahead and sur­prise me, Net­flix!

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