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back to article Make cool shows, make money: Netflix's SHOCKING TV strategy

Netflix added 2 million US subscribers and made a profit of $2.69m (£1.77m) in the first quarter of 2013, buoyed by its critically acclaimed exclusive drama House of Cards. The DVDs-by-post company now bills itself as an “internet television network” and is edging up in US customer numbers - its subscribers now almost equal …

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JDX
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Before people feel the need to tell us how streaming doesn't suit their needs, can I just jump in and say we already know that, and you can save your time.

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Streaming does suit my needs....

But my capped copper connection to BT doesn't....

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Stop

Re: Streaming does suit my needs....

That you can do something about. Unless you are still in contract then walk. If you are still in contract then upgrade (yes, BT do offer unlimited plans).

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Re: Streaming does suit my needs....

Check what package you have with BT, I was on the 40GB/month with weekend and evening calls, but after a quick phone call, upgraded to Unlimited/month and it was £2 less, the deals are on their site, but they just dont tell you!

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Re: Streaming does suit my needs....

Streaming does NOT suit my needs.

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Re: Streaming does suit my needs....

Thankee for the prod - rang them up and moaned about it, saved >£5 by removing the cap. Weird. If British Gas can manage to tell you if you're on their best tariff every 6 months, why can't BT?

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Anonymous Coward

Game the system

Doesn't "gaming the system" mean abusing the system? If they're advertising a free trial, and you try it for free, then cancel, how is that gaming the system? They've told you to do it, you have done.

What have I missed?

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Boffin

Re: Game the system

No, "gaming the system" is decidedly not abusing the system. It lies exactly on the line between using and abusing the system.

"Gaming the system" refers to using a system's rules as written to generate an individual advantage that was apparently not the rulemakers' intent. In other words, it's following the letter of the law rather than the spirit.

In this case, the spirit of the free trial is that Netflix lets you use their system for a period of time and you perform an honest evaluation with the possibility of opting to pay for future use of the system. The strict rules of the trial, however, do not require you to actually consider continuing the contract for pay.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve Knox

"the spirit of the free trial is that Netflix lets you use their system for a period of time and you perform an honest evaluation with the possibility of opting to pay for future use of the system"

So they don't require your credit card details up front?

But of course they do. The whole point of free trials is to ensure that nobody is "opting to pay for future use". This happens automatically. They want your money without you ever quite deciding to give it to them.

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JDX
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Re: @Steve Knox

They make it easy to cancel though. You don't have to phone some pushy salesman to get them to allow you to cancel, which is my pet peeve for free trials. Not as good as those trials who let you pre-select not to pay when you sign up, but not bad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Game the system

" "Gaming the system" refers to using a system's rules as written to generate an individual advantage that was apparently not the rulemakers' intent. In other words, it's following the letter of the law rather than the spirit."

But ... the spirit was to offer you a free trial for a month, which you can cancel if you want... You didn't exploit a loophole in the rules that let you achieve that, when they didn't intend to offer you that chance. They intended to offer you a free trial. You took them up on it. Errr.... smashing

Even if we use your definition, that's not "generating an individual advantage that was apparently not the rulemakers' intent", is it?

???

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Re: Game the system

I've gamed the system in quite a few PC games. (an early Ultima game: create a party, go into town. everybody in party hands everything they own to one guy, save. Repeat with a fresh party 3 times. Delete all the critters with no money. Form a party from the four people who had everything. Go into town. Everybody hands everything to one guy. Repeat until you have 4 guys carrying as much as the limits allow. Now go on your first quest. Eventually find the gizmo that upgrades your stats for free. Since we've already proven gold is free, we now have stats for free too.)

This was gaming the system.

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Subscriber Figures

Were those figures worldwide, or just US?

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One hit wonder?

Now, I wonder if there will be an equal drop in subscribers/revenue when Hemlock Grove debuts over here...

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Re: One hit wonder?

Watched first two episodes of Hemlock Grove last night. Really, really bad script/acting. Worst I've seen since Strippers vs Werewolves.

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I'd subscribe to Netflix for the rest of my working life if they finance series 2 of Firefly!

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Nice try, but I suspect no cigar.

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I liked Firefly and Serenity. Pity the idiots at the network cancelled it.

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Could be worse

Although it's sad to lose a series which still had legs, it's far worse to see something that was good running out of steam.

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Re: sad to lose a series which still had legs

And the absolute worst is to see a series with a defined set of legs compressed to less than it was designed for, then watch in shock and horror when they decided to expand it back out to its intended length, only to realize they don't have enough plot left. Yes TURNER I'm looking at YOU!

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Nice, if you can watch it

Wouldn't pay extra to watch the episodes (I am assuming that was £5.99 on top of your subscription). Not really going to matter to me till they have a playbook native streaming app.

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Re: Nice, if you can watch it

@James 51 - No, House of Cards was accessible without paying extra on your Netflix subs.

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JDX
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Re: Nice, if you can watch it

£5.99 is the monthly subscription, HoC just became available like every other show.

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The problem is that streaming doesn't suit my needs

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The problem is that streaming doesn't suit my needs

Me Neither! No one ever thinks about us!

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Cancelled shows

I'd definately subscribe if they'd pick up some of the great shows which have been cancelled over the years. Pushing Daisies, Firefly and Deadwood to name a few. On and Futurama fans might like to know that the axe has fallen on it (again).

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Re: Cancelled shows

Firefly and Futurama are both already there.

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Re: Cancelled shows

Firefly is available. Futurama is most definitely _not_ available.

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Re: Cancelled shows

He meant "pick them up" as in "pick them up and make new episodes".

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Anonymous Coward

Giving punters what they want and reaping in the money?

Who'd have thunk that?

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One program isn't a network

I'm sure Netflix is a wonderful source of entertainment, but I think they need to go a lot further than spending $100m on a single drama series before they count as an 'internet tv network'. Out of interest, how much does the Beeb spend on commissioning original drama each year?

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Re: One program isn't a network

You're absolutely right, even if it is two shows it doesn't make them a TV network. However their claim is better substantiated by the amount of money they pour into studios and other TV networks, which totals in the billions of dollars per annum. They money directly funds new movies and TV shows, even if they only produce a few themselves. There are plenty of TV channels in the US that produces no content except maybe a breakfast/entertainment show or two, relying on repeats of syndicated shows for the rest of their programming. House of Cards alone puts Netflix well ahead of these in terms of quality, and their "repeats" (the rest of the content Netflix delivers) is far superior, delivered on-demand and isn't interrupted every ten minutes with commercials.

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They've got more than one show now :P

I didn't watch House of Cards because frankly it looked dry as a badger's chuff, but I enjoyed Hemlock Grove

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Happy

They've also got Lillyhammer which was pretty good.

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Eh

House of Cards was great.

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Anonymous Coward

All the original stuff is good

House of Cards, Lillyhammer and Hemlock Grove. I hope they keep it up.

It would be excellent if they did pick up the higher quality series that get cancelled by the big networks for no good reason.

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Re: cancelled by the big networks for no good reason.

It's always canceled for a good reason: the money for the new contract wasn't available from the usual sources.

It was sad to learn Eureka had been canceled, but when I saw them at Dragoncon right after it happened, the cast were philosophical about it. The upfront costs are huge and the money simply wasn't there because the venture people were funding other things in which they had more interest. Remember most networks don't pay for shows, they rent them from the companies that made them. The money has to come from somewhere.

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I`m a user of Netflix, love film and Sony entertainment. Sony is brilliant for new films but it is expensive. There is no real comparison between Netflix and love film as Netflix is by far superior. I'm only maintaining love film as they gave me a few months for free when I quit!

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2 Streams?

It was always 3 concurrent streams unless they changed that recently?

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Standard TV Sucks

The days of standard tv is coming to an inevitable end. The service just doesnt make sense. Its ridden with ads and even pvr wont save it. It just makes a whole a lot more sense to watch what you want and when you want. We are entering the realm of 'universe revolves around me' and thats how it should be when it comes to my own personal time and money.

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Happy

Re: Standard TV Sucks

Agreed 100% With Netflix I can watch what I want at anytime without 1/3+ of the show taken up by shampoo, tampon & dog food commercials and it is 94% cheaper (compared to a $100 monthly cable + movie channel bill).

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Re: Standard TV Sucks

Slightly embarrassed to admit that it took me a while to notice that every episode of "24" was actually only about 48 minutes long when watched via Netflix. I guess "19 Hours 12 Minutes" would have been a less snappy title...

*edited to replace maths fail*

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Sport

Live sport, specifically.

Why do you think sports' rights fees have gone through the roof?

Because people watch sport live and will put up with adverts rather than record-and-watch-later.

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Netflix v Love Film

I was surprised to learn that Netflix uses Amazon Cloud, given that I and everyone I know who's tried can't get a reliable stream out of Love Film at all and yet Netflix streams flawlessly. Are Amazon deliberately trying to wreck Love Film for some reason?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Netflix v Love Film

You realise Amazon Cloud is just a load of (virtualised) servers and networking infrastructure out on the internet, right? Developers employed by the individual companies still have to build efficient apps / tweak server configuration / optimise performance themselves.

Amazon don't keep phoning you up going "You should really turn debug off in web.config you know, and enable compression.... back later with more tips!"

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Re: Netflix v Love Film

Actually Netflix have a lot of their own infrastructure, co-located or peered with major ISPs.

http://blog.netflix.com/2012/06/announcing-netflix-open-connect-network.html

They name and shame the ISPs that aren't on-board. Just search for "Netflix ISP speed index".

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