Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Repeat After Me: Netflix Good, Redbox Bad

I had thought this went without saying, but then I heard some people have been getting it wrong lately. So I want you all to repeat after me: Netflix Good, Redbox Bad. Say it. Excellent. Again. Well done! One more time. Netflix Good, Redbox Bad.

  • Netflix comes to your door. Redbox makes you wait on line at the supermarket. (After you already waited on line at the supermarket with your groceries. Now you stand by this kiosk, grocery bags in hand, waiting for your turn at the Red Monster.)
  • Netflix knows what you like. Redbox makes you sift through randoms.
  • Netflix never charges late fees. Redbox charges you every day.
  • Netflix has 100,000 choices. Redbox has maybe 200 in the box.
  • Redbox gives you two measly one-day rental promo codes if they rent you a damaged disc. And those only come after you argue with them. Netflix replaces the disc for free.
  • Netflix is cool with you losing the disc sleeve. I shudder to think how a Redbox would take losing the DVD cover. Probably blow a gasket. Literally.
  • Redbox makes a mess of your credit card bill with all its silly little charges. Netflix is just one neat, all inclusive, charge each month.
  • Netflix offers online streaming video. Redbox offers online email spam.
  • Netflix loves you. Redbox is a backwards ATM.

Still not convinced? Here's more evidence: The studios are cutting deals with Redbox. This shows, and you'll love the logic, that they don't believe in it. Redbox is less profitable for the studio than DVD sales or even Blockbuster rentals. So why would the studios support them? To keep Netflix at bay. Netflix they perceive as a threat. They know they can kill Redbox with relative ease if they ever need to. So they're willing to prop up Redbox a bit to control the threat of Netflix while they try to figure out a streaming strategy of their own.

Pssst. Redbox! If you're listening, these are some areas you need to work on.

Yeah, after those shenanigans Amazon pulled this morning, I'm in a slightly Orwellian mood.

Full disclosure: I am not a Netflix employee, nor do I hold positions in Netflix or Redbox parent Coinstar. I have used both services.


Sam said...

You forgot: Netflix Good, Redbox Bad, because Netflix reaches wherever USPS goes. There is no Redbox in the sticks.

I've never used Redbox, but my limited experience with Netflix has found their policies -- like sending an extra DVD when my 1st choice will be delayed -- to be on the awesome side of reasonable.

Mark said...

You forgot: Netflix Good, Redbox Bad, because when you use Redbox's on-line reservation system, they begin charging from the moment you reserve the DVD. Although you can reserve a DVD at any time, many in-store locations close allowing no access to Redbox. Even though you can't actually pick-up the DVD until the following day, you still get billed immediately after reserving. So if you reserve at 11PM on Sunday, pick up at 9AM on Monday and return at 8AM on Tuesday, you still have to pay for 2 nights. Crappy policy!