Platform Communications Views

Netflix doesn’t turn me on…yet

“Netflix recommends Supersize Me”. Again. I give up.

I write this just after having cancelled my Netflix subscription – after my free 1 month trial had expired.

After all the hype, and its undisputable success in the US, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about, particularly as an iPad owner, Android mobile phone user and self-confessed TV addict. This would revolutionise my life, surely?!

Well, not exactly. I don’t dispute that the ‘experience’ is definitely something that I believe in and am happy to adopt – TV and movie content available whenever I want it, on any device I choose to watch it on. But the problem is – and this is a pretty major problem – I don’t really want to watch much of the available content.

Admittedly I’m not the biggest movie buff, but having rated some of my preferences, hoping that it would help me discover something new that I could get stuck into, the recommendations really didn’t appeal and seemed pretty old. Although admittedly still in its infancy in the UK, I was disappointed with the range of content or availability of anything remotely ‘new’. There’s only so many times you can be recommended a documentary about the evils of eating burgers before you give up.

Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey is quoted as saying, “Not many people are coming to Netflix for new releases since they can get them elsewhere,” but I then find myself asking how exactly they will stop subscribers churning and keep them paying.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely believe that multi-screen TV services are going to be a huge success, and that everyone’s tastes are different – but if it’s going to be a real success, the experience should be made relevant. For example, as a Sky Sports subscriber, I can watch live football on my iPad while my girlfriend watches something else on the TV, and it doesn’t cost me anything extra.

At IP&TV World Forum next week at Olympia, London, I’m keen to take a look at some of the multi-screen solutions on show that go beyond just enabling viewers to watch content on a different screen. It’s not just about that anymore – it has to be about the balance between flexibility of experience and the content that consumers really want. Get this right and my willingness to pay for such services might go large.

Ian Westover