I always had a bit of a moral dilemma working at Netflix because my goal was to get people to spend more time watching Netflix, which I didn't really think was good for humanity.
Either way, it was nice having very clear goals. Netflix was a great company to work for.
Don’t get me wrong, Netflix does have some good content, but I finally realized that the way the platform is designed is gross.
It's clear that rising licensing fees are eating it alive, and its response, to create more original content, is mostly failing. Original Netflix series and movies are, by and large, fairly awful. The exceptions are notable but rare.
Next year, when the mass exodus of Disney content occurs, there will be a noticeable drop in the number of good movies on Netflix -- I'm predicting that I'll likely be one of many canceling Netflix in favor of Disney's streaming service, and that will be an inflection point in the beginning of Netflix's end.
Netflix original content is not enough to sustain it, and soon it won't have much else.
I've found it's not worth watching anything on netflix, originals or not, unless it's something I already know is good or if the rating is above 7/10 on a couple different review sites(even that's fairly unreliable).
I also find a lot of shows start good...are full of story dragging filler in the middle then end either in some kind of cliffhanger or just don't bother wrapping up most of the story.
I understand why they end that way....but most of the things i've watched like that don't end up with a second season...it just ends up feeling like I wasted a bunch of time with a story that will never conclude.
Not to mention the strange recommendations, the way netflix alters cover art depending what demographic they think you are...and something strange I asked about but was told I was crazy for thinking but..
But I have suspicions netflix associates unrelated accounts used on the same network in some way.
My girlfriend had been watching a series on netflix using my account, under my name on the roku app through the television.
She recently got a new laptop that came with a netflix app and used her parent's account to sign in. The two accounts have completely different information associated with them, my account had never been used on her computer, her parents account had never been used on the tv and thr show had never been watched on her parents' account yet when she started the show on her computer it started off at the exact minute she'd left off on the tv.
The only two things the two devices had in common were that they were used on the same network in the same house.
But I was told by multiple people I just have been mistaken and netflix doesn't work like that so what do I know?
This. The variety has gone down and the suggestion algos (for me at least) have gotten worse.
There is too much awful garbage on Netflix. I don't want to waste my time with it, but it's right there--presented front and center. I can't count how many times I've started something only to exit it within the first few minutes. Or never made a choice in the first place.
I'd prefer a service with a few really good shows. Something a la carte.
Unfortunately a lot of these are attempted ( FilmStruck, Mubi, etc. ) and all fold. People aren't actually interested in high enough numbers.
They were ever good? At least for me, and with spending a lot of time rating, telling Netflix which genres I liked and which I disliked resulted in Netflix recommending I watch series of genres I explicitly told it I didn't want.
Their recommendations always were as bad as Amazon's which is to say the dumbest possible implementation (at least for usefulness for me as a viewer, I assume they both have reasons for it)
I disagree strongly. There are quite a few Netflix original shows that I like. The wife and I just finished watching Travelers last night, and it the 3 seasons were fantastic.
https://www.whats-on-netflix.com/originals/ lists nearly 1,000 movies and shows
Everyone I know already shares accounts because it's too expensive to have all of them. Adding another streaming service is hard to swallow. Does anyone have an idea how much Disney will charge? I feel it won't be as cheap as the entry level Netflix sub but who knows.
Subscribers might add Disney+ without dropping Netflix, sure - but all those services will reach a saturation point eventually, and subscribers will eventually have to choose which services they want to drop. Netflix still brings more to the table now than many of its competitors, but it's on a long, slow downward slide that will almost certainly accelerate this year.
The price increase really wasn't the main driver for me; it was more that Netflix continues doing the exact same thing -- manipulating its users through user interface trickery, and continuing to spend money on content that is not very good. The more shows, including original series that I pass on, the more I realize that I'm paying an increased monthly cost to finance Netflix's overspending on B-rated content that I won't even be watching.
I also think Netflix took away the wrong thing from the Bird Box "success." Yes, a large percentage of Netflix subscribers watched at least 70% of the movie, but I think it was 1) to see Sandra Bullock, who is a great actor and 2) it came out over the holidays when you often want something in the background to watch because there isn't a ton of things to do that the entire family can do together. For me, I'm a fan of Sandra Bullock so that is why I watched it, but the rest of the movie and story was not that great or anything unique.
After I cancelled Netflix, I signed up for YouTube Premium instead, and I feel much better about it. You can turn off auto-play and video previews don't have sound. YouTube music isn't quite there yet, but it's getting better, and the iOS app is solid. And their recommendation engine is actually good. Plus I like that I can watch ten or twenty minute videos on an infinite variety of things instead of committing ten hours of my life to a Netflix show.
If Netflix had any faith in their own content, they would introduce some kind of impartial review system (either user-based, or Rotten Tomatoes, etc). Netflix's "% match" system is a complete joke; I frequently see 90% matches and start watching and go "why in the world was this recommended to me?"
Disney will also be launching their streaming service this year, and it will be rumored to undercut Netflix pricing. Plus Disney will now have all the Fox content, some of which is on Netflix and might be pulled down the line. I think Disney+ will also be more appealing to people with kids over Netflix, which tends to be more adult-themed.
The other issue they're going to run into is that they have almost reached peak saturation in developed markets. In order to continue getting new users in developing markets, where those people will be more price sensitive, they cannot keep raising the price. I wouldn't be surprised if they begin segmenting the pricing by region, or creating lower cost plans that only have limited content, or more restrictions.
You also cannot turn off the auto-playing previews with sound.
As for the auto-playing previews, my partial solution is to hit the mute button when browsing the Netflix home screen. Still gets annoying when trying to read the text description of a show, but it disappears from the screen too fast and replaced by the preview.
Wait, one of the reasons you've cancelled is companies that make media to get people to watch... make... MORE of it?
It reminds me of a quote in a US Network TV show, where a British character is commenting on a British TV show:
"Oh it's brilliant! It's been going for 16 years; they've shown almost 30 episodes!"
Another example, the BBC Series the Bodyguard (a different concept but similar enough) or Israeli Homeland vs US Homeland. The US has made the mistake on a number of times of taking a great concept and dragging it out too long. Maybe one of the few that was justified was House of Cards, where the longer US version was (arguably) better than the UK version...
The US version of The Office is apparently by far the most watched show on Netflix (US). Even if you acknowledge it went on probably one or two seasons too long (which isn't an uncommon opinion, to be fair), 7 seasons is far longer than most BBC shows last.
And, as another poster noted, I would argue that a lot of people think the BBC version of Sherlock has definitely gone on way too long.
I think British TV has actually started taking influence from American TV over the past decade or so (or at least realized that Americans are watching and have started to cater to those audiences). Downton Abbey I feel also similarly went on probably a couple series too many.
BBC being funded by tax payer's money compared to US for profits company where they have incentive to not cut off their series with many viewers?
it's not a bad reason at all. I prefer to buy media that respects my time and does not painstakingly try to get me to maximize my engagement with the service, because that's probably not very good for me.
Back in the day Lay’s potato chips had a campaign called “bet you can’t eat just one” which clearly encourages overeating. And yet today we see companies, like Netflix, embracing binging as some innocuous thing. We say binge eating and drinking is bad now, but binge television watching is universally ok?
Sometimes you just have to take control of yourself.
A lot of TV shows have the same issue, Netflix originals (I'm mostly talking about the Marvel ones here) seem to meander a lot and could use some ruthless editing.
I hated this, too. You can turn that off by logging into your account on the web (not on your device of choice, which really pisses me off). Here:
That is clearly a deliberate move by Netflix, because they know it will reduce binging and reduce the metrics they so covet, like total hours watched per user.
Hit pause at the end of a show to stop the playback, maybe for a quick bio? Fine! Then - you might have moved around in the house by now - it suddenly starts playing again!
Why? Because the auto play next episode timer isn't cancelled when hitting pause. Once it's counted down, playback of next episode starts irrespectively.
That's some genius systems development right there. I'm sure a lot of binary tree reversals were tested for to get to this level.
Concerning the frame rate issue, I was really surprised that most people just don't care or notice at all. After some research it turns out that only about a dozen of Netflix clients on various bluray players, streaming boxes and TVs handle proper refresh rate switching. If your device's Netflix client supports it is apparently pure guess work and anything but certain. Instead they just seem to rely on the display's frame rate interpolation algorithms to fix an issue that shouldn't be there in the first place.
I can live with that for mindless, forgettable content, but if you're trying to sell your service as the future of cinema and put effort into high prestige projects like "Roma" or "The Other Side Of The Wind" maybe they should get the basics right in order to offer a worthwhile big screen experience.
And then: I read you, again. The attention to proper detail just isn't there - unless you can wrap it up with a hot buzzword such as _HDR_!
When your only goal is to make a graph go up and to the right, what does a plateau mean? And then after the plateau?
I’ve had a number of managers over the years, and some of them could only think in those terms, and refused to think in other ways. Decades later and those jobs are long gone, and whether there was any respect between us is long since irrelevant, but by now, those kinds of goals often come across as strong signal to me of a built in concept of disposability. Proof arrives with the fact that I’m no longer at those places.
If the graph is only allowed to go up and to the right, your days there are assuredly numbered.
The cost of actually delivering the video was so tiny it didn't matter. To put it another way, you could watch for the entire month continuously and it would make no difference to the bottom line.
The videos were fixed cost licenses, not per view, so it didn't matter who watched it or for how long. The actual cost of sending bits over the wire was trivial.
Truly amazing times we live in!
Actually they do. Just a whole lot of MPEG-PS, several of which multiplexed into a single frequency channel (sometime called transponder channel, even in the context of cable, although the term comes from satcom), and then on the order of hundreds of frequency channels between 100MHz to 1000MHz (roughly speaking, it depends on the regulatory domain, frequency allocations, and doesn't stretch all the way to the limits of the range).
It would be nice if it was configurable, though. In fact, it might well configurable; I've never really checked, because the current setting is fine by me.
I don't want to get off topic but isn't this the ISP argument __against__ net neutrality? That is, they (and their collective) customers are bearing the cost of delivery, not (e.g.) Netflix.
Net neutrality is about being able to charge both ways.
Regardless, Netflix doesn't bear the cost of delivery. Imagine if USPS couldn't charge Amazon for delivery.
Imagine if USPS charged both Amazon and its customers for delivering the same package.
"Zero tax dollars used. The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations."
"The USPS in its current form runs like a business, relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, has not used taxpayer money since 1982, when postage stamps became “products” instead of forms of taxation. Taxpayer money is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans"
Replace "USPS" with UPS or FedEx and it comes out to the same thing - either sender pays, or receiver pays, but never both.
There's also the phrase "for the most part."
Finally, USPS is a gov sanctioned monopoly. So there's the cost of that.
I understand what USPS is or is said to (hooefully) be. But all things considered, the taxpayer is paying in some way.
> "for the most part."
This was explained. The government pays to mail voting materials to some people. How is that different from any branch of government buying some stamps to mail some letters and packages?
Their "monopoly" gives them the exclusive right to put things in mailboxes. In return, they are legally required to serve every single part of the country equally, at the same price. They also can't set their own prices.
I have no earthly idea how much this "monopoly" costs taxpayers and it hasn't stopped UPS, Fedex et al from providing plenty of competition. I think taxpayers, especially in remote and rural communities, are coming out ahead in this bargain but again, I'm not an expert.
In any case, none of this has anything to do with net neutrality which is where this discussion began. Pretend USPS doesn't exist - does UPS or Fedex charge the sender and receiver for shipping the same package?
This is about the telcos wanting to double dip.
If that's the case, is there any particular reason Netflix is charging more for access to 4K content, or is it just an artificial increase?
It takes more storage on the CDN box, and also takes more bandwidth on the outbound network port. That means you need more CDN boxes and more hard drives, which means renting more space and power and cooling. Also, you need to be closer to the customer for the 4K video since it's so high bandwidth, so that means more CDN deployments.
You also have to get the 4K video to the CDN, which is more costly because of the extra copies and the large files.
You also have to create all the 4K video files for all the devices, which takes a lot more processing time in the video pipeline.
You also need higher res files from the studio, so of course they charge more for that since it costs them more to move the large files around, store them, and create them in the first place with better camera equipment and editing equipment.
Are there still people who don't know Netflix? ;)
By one accounting standard, yes. By another, if you include the costs of producing Netflix's (actually really great) original content, no.
In other words this was about the marginal costs of delivering content to additional viewers, not fixed production costs.
The idea that ISPs bear the cost of Internet traffic which benefits tech companies is at the centre of their agreement against net neutrality, and it's a fallacious argument.
The ISP is free to decide the price and the quality of the service offered. That's how they recoup their costs, by charging their customers the correct price for the service.
What customers pay is an averaged out bandwidth usage from my understanding.
They can, and should, respond by modifying their plans accordingly. Once the consumer's contract is up, renew them with a more modern usage model. Until then, you eat the cost for not doing your only job.
The theory that "we didn't build in a margin of error and therefore someone else is responsible" is dangerous to society.
ISPs SHOULD see losses. Their investors aren't entitled to guaranteed profits.
In Europe, as usage goes up, prices stays flat, because ISPs there know that the cost of a marginal bit of data is almost nothing, and they actually have to compete with each other on customer service and price.
Until you get to that last bit that your wires and equipment can handle. Then it costs a bunch of money to upgrade those to handle the extra traffic.
Cell phone plans have data tiers and pay-per-use. There's no reason cable companies can't do this either, except it prevents them from fudging costs.
I probably use as much bandwidth as anybody else, and I'd prefer to be accurately charged for it rather than have my provider pull shady net neutrality things or try to become an ad network or buy a media company to "bundle" their services or sell my data to third parties to juice their income.
I see both sides. Honestly, I think there was a better argument for it when the heavy users were a small percentage of users downloading a bunch of "Linux distributions" on bittorrent. Today, it's more likely to be a family that uses Netflix a lot.
Metering would change usage for better or worse and the fact is that a lot of domestic phone plans don't have caps, or at least meaningful ones any longer, although they may throttle data at some point.
It's a smart move really. Netflix saves bandwidth and ISPs save transit capacity.
Might also be the reason Netflix is so good at detecting if you're connecting from a "residential" IP block.
They could also have offer their Encoding System as Services. I upload a video file, sets a few requirements and I get Netflix Quality encoding in return without me fiddling anything.
The Market for CDN and Online Video Encoding that Netflix could get are properly in the sub annual $1B range, may be too small for Netflix to even consider.
I just thought the more traffic passing through those FreeBSD Server the better.
Can an ISP subsidize access to Netflix because they save on transit?
So, are there CDNs without their own racks anywhere?
See "Edge nodes":
Obviously anyone streaming video, it's different.
I wonder if BBC iPlayer (major streaming service in UK) collocate with ISPs.
Will those servers have a local (to the ISP) IP, or do the Akamai IPs get physically routed to the AS?
The only thing that matters is peak usage because then you have to buy faster network equipment. If I buy 100MBit internet from my ISP, they basically need to spend, once, whatever 100Mbit of a port looks like, 1/10th of a gigabit port, 1/100th of a 10G port etc. They only have to do that once, yet I pay them every month, they're fine.
ISPs also need a way to get your packets off their network and across to other people’s networks, which are possibly on the other side of the globe. A lot of this is done via peering agreements with other providers, where both parties will agree to connect their networks at a common data centre without charging for data going across that link, but there will still be some data that needs to go across transit providers - these are the companies providing things like transatlantic fibre, or interconnects between different parts of the US. They charge for a pre-agreed amount of bandwidth, and when you burst above that it gets expensive.
These agreements are the core of the net neutrality debate. Traditionally peering agreements would see both parties having a roughly equal amount of traffic going back and forth, however in a world with services like Netflix what you see is a huge amount of bandwidth being used on side of the link. This is why ISPs think Netflix and co should have to pick up the cost of those links.
I don’t agree with that stance since the reason ISPs have customers is often the ability to access those services. However, it’s not quite as clear cut as people make out.
If you want more bandwidth, it's "free" as long as there is room available, otherwise the whole chain needs to upgrade so as not to degrade the service of other customers. On a competitive market, the margins available and the prices should tend to go as tight as possible and the economics will lead to pay for usage.
That's price led though, not cost led.
Do you know if this is common practise or even has a name? Would be interested in reading more discussion around it.
I decided to leave the games industry after it was revealed that our latest release had a 14 year old kid who was playing, non-stop in 48-hour bursts .. and the game company execs loved it. Like, they were ecstatic that they had this 14-year olds' attention like that.
That was enough for me to realise that the video game industry is destructive, and has evil intent for our society...
When I search on a specific title, I get anything that roughly matches any keywords in combination, then also any title that remotely associates (even conceptually):in any possible way with any individual keyword.
But what it won't tell me is "we don't have the title you want".
Specific example from earlier: look for the 2007 film "Sunshine". Then, go plug "sunshine film" into duckduckgo and see what comes up as the very first item.
That's by design, not accident. The Netflix catalog is much, much smaller than most people think, especially for films. They have just under 6,000 titles available in the US, but a large proportion of that is cheap filler that most viewers will have no interest in. Searching the catalog using a third-party tool reveals just how thin it really is.
Netflix have focussed on recommendations over search because it makes their service look better. If you search for something, the odds are that Netflix don't have it. Recommendation allows them to promote their original content, which is Netflix's main moat - if you're hooked on Stranger Things or Orange Is The New Black, you're far less likely to cancel your subscription.
That may sound like a bad search for engineers but for the user it’s probably what they want and what Netflix measured.
(I'm saying that to agree with you, not to correct you)
This example is particularly good because they didn't even say "I get it, but I don't like it" or "I think it'd be better if..." Rather, they went straight to "wait, netflix devs are supposed to have skillz?" and "this must be incompetence", an assumption that represents one of the more toxic parts of our community.
"find films related to X"
In some ways, what an entrepreneur does is very coarse-grained A/B testing anyways. If you launch 50 different startup ideas and they all get zero traffic, and then you launch the 51st and it has 100 users sign up over a weekend, then there's a good indication that you should go with the 51st idea.
º: you kind of can, if you have enough fresh data, to search for and derive statistically significant results automatically.
Littering, theft and pollution are also systemic problems that many separate actors contribute independently to - and no individual litterer, thief or chemical plant could solve the problem entirely by cleaning up only their own actions. That's why, for thousands of years, societies have agreed that litterers, thieves, and polluters are not culpable for their actions, and why no serious effort has ever been made to bring them to justice or discourage them. After all, you might complain when you see a mob boss using underhanded methods to get ahead, but cooler heads know that touchy-feely mob bosses don't get as far in their careers; they can't be blamed.
In my opinion, anti-litterers tend to be over-idealistc academics with no grasp on the real world. If I were to stop throwing cigarette butts out my car window, I would have more cigarette buts inside my car. They must not realize this, I guess, because idealists don't go on road trips. Besides, if I don't cover a square inch of grass with a chip bag, someone driving behind me will.
>everyone does it, and the ones that dont, don't make it so big.
Socrates was famous for posing this argument at Greek garden parties. Eventually it took root, and that's why the Athenians (and all societies inheriting their legal tradition) took every law off the books.
--An excerpt from the moral philosophy of Goatee Spock Evil Dimension
It's a reference to a Star Trek episode.
Unfortunately it seems most smokers are obnoxious asshole litterers. Disgusting ppl.
I'd like to see more education about this, and the amount that end up in the oceans.
Someone developed a backpack that can keep strong odors inside, there should be ashtray inserts and portable small proof boxes that smokers can use, so that their car does not get the old smoke-butt smell which is way worse than the smoked in the car smell - which I gather is one of the main reasons to get the butts out of the car as fast as possible.
I'd also like to see a change in how cigarettes are made, requiring the butts to be faster to break down / decompose.
Surely these things are possible, and less litter in the future as well.
Notifications used sparingly, with restraint, is really, really useful. This spam-fest we’re seeing now though? Fuck that shit.
I can see FB and “friends” adapting though. They’re now sending me email-notifications when I don’t grant them in-app spam permissions. Really.
All the big players are working together real hard to ruin everything.
The more Netflix wastes my time like Twitter or YouTube the more likely I am to clean it from my life. Those services do not spark joy they just waste my limited time. No real reason Netflix cannot do better than them and treat me with dignity and respect, like a real customer and not like the product because in fact I'm not their product.
Edit: I wrote “The vanity metric paradox” a while ago to express it more clearly http://dimitarsimeonov.com/2018/03/23/the-vanity-metric-para...
Most of our forays into Netflix these days are precision strikes. We know what we want to watch and we race to get to it without triggering those stupid autoplay videos. We no longer browse.
For a while I had my TV setup with variable framerate to match the content being played and of course the Netflix UI and Video operated at different framerates so every time a video would kick in the screen would blank for a few seconds and when you navigated it would blank back.
Hulu's current interface definitely isn't perfect, but I love the convenient toggle for Autoplay; and I love being able to search for episodes by name. As a fan of Seinfeld and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I can remember an episode's name waaayyy more easily than I can remember its season/episode number
Maybe it's just in my head, but I feel like Netflix doesn't care what I want or think anymore. I feel like they've taken the position that their metrics and projections know better than I do.
Everyone loathing it? Is this really a thing? I never actually seen anyone complaining about it on Netflix. I've seen people complains about the "Are you still there?", my SO also often complains that it's "too long" between episodes and ask me to press continue with the remote.
I do hate the autoplay from Youtube personally, particularly since I've on Youtube premium (my phone just keep playing videos in the background, that's quite annoying and I'm really lucky it only has happened while I was on wifi). Still I haven't seen any people complains from it and I do know it can be easily deactivated on the website at least.
> We know what we want to watch and we race to get to it without triggering those stupid autoplay videos.
Are you on a special version of Netflix? Are you actually talking about the trailers that play on the background while you browse? You don't like that feature?
Do you not awake to a prompt asking you to confirm that you are still actively watching?
No more nefarious or creepy than a screen saver.
I was quite annoyed when I saw it for the first time - I had music playing over my Bluetooth headset while cleaning my bathroom, so it was quite inconvenient to tap on the phone when YouTube suddenly paused it to check if I'm still there.
But if it's just for the ad-supported version, it makes sense.
Recently, the price went up, but I still continue to pay.
I looked into downgrading my subscription from 4-screen to 3-screen, but only the 2-screen option exists.
Well played Netflix.
Ah, come on. We need entertainment. Netflix is far and above what cable companies have been doing for a long time in terms of effort and not being scummy. Bringing joy to people is good for humanity. Don't let it weight on you.
Netflix is chips, designed so that you can’t just eat one. Every product from packaging to taste to price to whatever is designed to manipulate us. We should definitely keep businesses in check but ultimately it is our responsibility whether we eat two chips or the whole bag.
Generally he does this (or plays math/word/science games). And if he doesn’t, strangely our internet connection gets slow on his devices. Shucks, I guess it’s time to read a book.
No one disputes that.
The reason why people consider it harmful is that frequent watching, which is the platform's #1 priority, creates addiction.
TV is absorbing, as a child with 3/4 channels there was often a time when the was nothing of interest and that helps one week interest elsewhere (aka boredom). If there's no point at which there's nothing interesting to watch it's easy to sit and absorb stimuli out of habit.
Maybe addiction can develop, does develop? If you do an action habitually you're still doing the same physically as perhaps you would as an addict.
Well, not really. Obviously people already watch TV, but netflix is much more addictive, by design, and that's not a good thing.
People are going to gamble no matter what, yet modern slots are many times more addictive, else the companies wouldn't research and develop them.
>Better Netflix than competitors, no?
Because the parent had worked for Netflix.
> netflix is much more addictive, by design
Is it? I remember people being glued to TVs for ungodly amounts of time before Netflix.
Continuous play is difficult with kids; you have to poll the TV viewing, rather than getting an interrupt. It's literally the only bit of Netflix I'm personally not happy with.
I was glad that I didn't work somewhere where the consumer was the product, and that we didn't really have to exploit anyone to deliver our product. Of all of the FAANG companies to work for, Netflix seems to be the one with the least things to complain about.
I think if you can walk in to a job in any area/industry you wish you're very fortunate. How?
Let's say I'd like to work in environmental science .. what role can I walk into?