Dear Netflix: It’s been fun, but…
I thought we would be together forever, but things have changed. You know it, I know it, and I don't think this letter will be a big surprise.
We've had great times. You brought me a world of streaming video to multiple screens – even the big one. We rated thousands of movies together. We made plans for the future and built a long queue of dreams. It felt like you could read my mind, knowing exactly what I wanted with your great suggestions. You even nursed me through the entire first season of "Archer" one sick day. You were a light in the darkness, entertaining me over 3G when a storm knocked out the power.
But you keep wanting more from our relationship. Last year, it was $10.99 a month for 1 Blu-ray disc at a time and unlimited streaming. In January, you wanted $11.99.
Then you dropped the bombshell. You said you wanted $17.98, take it or leave it. Or, you suggested a separation of our disc and streaming arrangements. I thought they were two halves of a perfect relationship. It's like asking me to pick a favorite half of my heart.
Why couldn't we just keep things simple? I guess the digital media world isn't simple anymore.
I've spent the summer reflecting and agree that our relationship needs to change. I'm going to take you up on the separation offer. I'll keep the disc plan because the family likes it and drop the streaming.
Why? It comes down to time, money and options.
First, I realized we haven't seen much of each other lately. You have a great memory for every minute we spend together, so I can see exactly how much instant streaming time we had from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Our family watched:
- •One episode of "Eureka" (sci-fi show)
- •"God Grew Tired of Us" (documentary)
- •"Dogs Decoded: Nova" (documentary)
- •"Kansas City Confidential" (classic movie)
- •Three episodes of "Twilight Zone"
- •Five episodes of "Mr. Bean" (guilty pleasure)
- •The pilot for "Family Ties" (wow, they looked young!)
- •Two episodes of "Ally McBeal" (back when it was really good)
- •"Tangled" (through the Starz Play service)
- •"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (also Starz Play)
Does that feel like a summer fling worth $24 plus tax (3 months times the new streaming price of $7.99)? Sorry, no. This made me realize I probably won't use your instant streaming service enough to make it worth the new price.
Don't get me wrong. I've loved the service. Viewing on my TiVo HD is great. The iPhone and iPad apps are wonderful both on the road and the couch. You've taught consumers to accept and pay for online delivery of videos, for which I will be forever grateful. You even got people to connect their TVs and disc players to the Internet. You have met and exceeded my needs up to this point.
But there's someone else. Several others, in fact. Some other services want to spend time with me and they're not as needy (so far).
I already pay for HBO. They gave me an HBO Go app for no extra charge with a big library of streaming content. I finally watched that first season of "Boardwalk Empire" I missed the first time. It makes me feel special. And frankly, they have a hotter interface.
I already pay for Amazon Prime to get the shipping deal. Now they're offering a lot of content I used to watch with you, like "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" movies. Amazon even streams all the "Frasier" episodes that I thought you were going to bring me months ago. You're still telling me I can only get it on disc.
I already pay for TiVo and you'd have to pry that dogbone remote from my cold, dead fingers. That means I always have recorded shows available and the option to download blockbuster movies for a fee.
Now I find out you're breaking up with Starz. I thought our little three-way arrangement was working well. I've watched a lot of movies that way. I already pay for Starz in my cable package, but your instant streaming options were more convenient. I bet Starz will make me an app and we'll spend time together for movies and "Torchwood."
Don't worry. I know this is harder on me than on you. You'll do just fine without me. I expect you'll be around for a long time. I assume I can come running back anytime if I backslide or if you change prices. Maybe when I retire sometime in the 2040s, we'll meet again and grow old together. We'll spend our sunset years watching reruns of "Arrested Development" over nursing home meals. My mind will probably be so shot that all of your shows will seem brand new again.
Take care, Netflix. See you in the snail mail.
My streaming heart will go on.
Wes Williams is Director of Product Management for R&D and iTV at Scripps Networks.
Contact Wes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Standard disclaimer: I am expressing my own opinion. The content published here has not been read by or approved by Scripps Networks Interactive and does not represent the company’s views.