Unlimited Movies, No Time

I’ve been a Netflix member since 1999. I love the service, selection, the fact they rent Blu-Ray discs and I’ve been pleased with how I’ve been treated as a customer for almost 10 years. And I love movies. Love.. LOVE movies. But I’m thinking about quitting… Why?

Netflix sitting..
“Would someone please watch us… now?”
Sitting around

Most of it is that I rarely make time to watch the films anymore. They just sit on the TV stand for days, weeks… [not quite months yet]. Some of these movies we get have been in our house for at least two weeks. So I sat down and started doing some math.

We pay $14.94 a month ($13.99 plus taxes) for the 2 at-a-time unlimited Netflix plan. During the winter months, we’ll get through an average of 6 movies in a 30-day period.

  • $14.94 divided by 6 = $2.49 per movie.

  • — Ok, that’s not too bad. Cheaper than Blockbuster and that’s pretty reasonable. Plus, that 3 movies every two weeks. Not a lot, but an average amount.

    But there are some months where we end up watching 10-12 movies during the month.

  • $14.94 divided by 12 = $1.25 per movie.

  • — See… It gets even cheaper per movie. The plan works great if you can follow this process: sending the movies back as fast as you can watch them. If I get one on a Monday and we watch it that night, we send it back on Tuesday in the mail. They get it Wednesday, pick a new one from my movie queue and mail it that same day. It arrives in my mailbox on Thursday and we have a new movie to watch that night. Sweet, huh?

    Reality Sets In

    Now let’s look at the reality and apply it to our Netflix subscription. A new movie arrives on Monday, because we found time to watch one on Thursday night. Monday passes. So does Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning arrives. We start to watch a movie.

    *** RING ***
    *** RING ***

    Pause movie. My wife answers the phone.

    “Oh… ok… what time? Ok. We’ll be there. Sure, no problem. Bye.”

    Hit the display button on the remote. “We got 34 minutes into the movie. Remember that.”

    Take movie out of player and try to come back to it later on in the week, most likely forgetting how far into it we were and just starting it from the beginning.

    The Pattern

    And that’s how it goes for a lot of our movie watching at home. We don’t always get interrupted and actually make it through an entire movie in a single sitting. But that seems to be the rare exception.

    Based on the above common scenario, we can guarantee maybe 2 movies a month.

  • $14.94 divided by 2 = $7.47 per movie.

  • WTF? That’s almost $8 a movie. For that, both of us can go to the actual theater for a matinee price. Or go see four dollar movies at the also-ran budget theater.

    Quit or Cut Back

    So with that, we are contemplating quitting the service or dropping our plan down to the 1 at-a-time unlimited plan [$8.99 plus tax]. We also have considered putting the account on hold for 3 months, where they don’t bill you or send you movies from your queue. We did the account hold last summer, which was nice. But then we ended up spending more money renting locally from Hollywood Video and Blockbuster.

    I’m putting this one out to my readers. What do you suggest? Are you in the same boat? Do you end up watching more movies? Belong to another online DVD rental service? Should we try out iTunes movie rentals? I await your responses.


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