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Netflix Continues to Completely Destroy Itself One Misstep At a Time

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 7, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 7, 2012 |

There’s no point in rehashing the many mistakes that Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has made over the last year in its attempt to become primarily a streaming video service. The end goal is actually commendable, and I was never bothered much by the decision to raise the subscription costs. You gotta make a profit, and you have to be able to license great new content. The latest revelation, however, really irks me. He wants to turn Netflix essentially into HBO (and HBO-to-GO):

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made explicit his intentions to transform his company from a once-powerful titan of a unique industry into an ordinary cable channel, saying it was Netflix’s “natural direction” to be bundled in an ordinary cable package someday and provide an ordinary sampling of cable offerings. To that end, Hastings says his focus is on upping the original content in Netflix’s library to around “40 percent,” something he hopes to achieve by acquiring more programs like Lilyhammer, the upcoming House Of Cards, and of course, that new season of Arrested Development—and meanwhile, not worrying so much about losing huge swaths of the movies and TV shows that people signed up to Netflix to watch in the first place, thereby making that ratio more easily achievable.

We have an HBO. And a Showtime, And an FX. We don’t need another premium cable service, even one that is conveniently accessible. Has anyone watched “House of Cards”? Is anyone really psyched for MORE television programming options? TV is so good overall now that I’m actually trying to find ways to cut back.

The thing I loved about Netflix is that we could find new and interesting things on there that we might not have paid to see in theaters, including their once fantastic documentary selection. Now, if you’ve caught up on most of your major televisions shows, Netflix is kind of worthless. In the last three months, I’ve used my subscription once: To watch a Louis CK Stand-Up special I hadn’t gotten around to yet. It’s not for lack of searching, either. The movie choices are terrible, and by the time the good movies arrive on Netflix, many of us have already watched them elsewhere. I’m using YouTube’s Movie Service far more frequently than Netflix: Their choices are limited, but it’s recently released movies, on demand, at a reasonable rental price.

Indeed, the days when you could use Netflix to watch all those undiscovered gems that you missed because your town doesn’t have a good indie theater are over. As recently as two years ago, by the time Oscar noms for best documentary were announced, most were available already on Netflix. That’s not the case anymore. I run an annual list of Undiscovered Gems you can find on Netflix, and that list is becoming harder and harder to compile as the eclectic and interesting choices become fewer and fewer. Slowly, they really are evolving into just another premium network, and the last thing we need in our lives is another goddamn channel.

(Source: The AV Club)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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