Netflix and Disruptive Television

Thoughts, continued

If you stumbled upon Bruce Eckels blog on Disruptive Television, you may have seen an exchange between the two of us (before he wrote the blog) about Netflix.  We're both subscribers and we had been sharing our experiences with some other people, and had also started talking about the Watch Now feature (which hadn't been enabled on Bruce's account at the time of his blog entry). In any case, since then we have had some additional exchanges about Netflix and Watch Now, some of which are captured in comments on his blog.

In any case, I'm still enamored with Netflix.  My husband and I have been using Watch Now. It's keeping us away from the local video store (where we are HUGE suckers for late fes; I swear that we are significantly responsible for any profit that the store makes).  I feel SORT OF bad that our Netflix addiction may put a local video store out of business, but they're not competitive and I can't see how they CAN be.  On the other hand, I don't really think that they are in danger of going out of business. Most of my neighbors don't subscribe with Netflix and I'm sure that THEIR late fees are helping the local economy.

So, anyhow, this blog post is really about how Netflix and Watch Now have disrupted MY behavior in watching movies and television, and how Joost may contribute in the future.  I don't have a Joost account (but I would love an invitation if anyone has one to offer).  We seriously don't watch much TV, and so cable has SO little attraction for us. Our TV is not on most of the summer or at all when the kids are awake (except for a Friday night movie that they are allowed to watch, and Michigan football, of course).  So, how has Netflix, and how MIGHT Joost affect that?

Netflix has certainly contributed to us watching MORE television than we would have otherwise.   I'm often too lazy to drive out to the video store (or home alone with kids sleeping, so no opportunity to do so). But having 3 at a time Netflix has given me the opportunity to always have something on hand (I'll confess to having had a movie sit here for 1+ months unwatched, because we've been too busy, and I'm mostly FINE with that). OTOH, some of the things that we have found to be MOST enjoyable on Netflix have been TV shows that have already gone to DVD.  Like 24.  The fast-paced show is SO much better on DVD.  Next episode, next episode, next episode … until we're done with a DVD and then anxiously awaiting the next DVD so that we can move on (even timing it to go out BY Thursday so that there's a chance to get a replacement for the weekend), ignoring the fact that "normal" network viewing has a week between each individual episode.  Oh yeah, and NO commercials.  Yes, I happy pay Netflix membership fees to avoid commercials and waiting for a subsequent episode.  If I were patient enough for the series to come out on DVD, I would definitely shun the "current season" on regular TV.  But sigh, the network has me, in my impatience.

"Watch Now" has changed our viewing as well. We are mostly through the series Coupling, and I have identified a few other movies and series that I might like to watch.  Note that we're on the low end of television viewing, about 2-6 hrs per week even with Netflix.  We don't watch local news.  It's simply too annoying to "wait" for a story when you can get it all at a glance on the internet.  Important stories DO bubble up, so I don't really worry about missing anything. 

What would Joost do? What about the video iPod?

Well, I have no idea how Joost might impact us. I don't see any channels YET that are of interest to me (maybe the National Geographic Channel).  If Noggin were on there, would we let the kids watch?  Not sure.  Doesn't seem likely.  Would we watch network tv there?   Probably not.  For $1.99 I can already download recent (current season) episodes of many shows for the video ipod.  I recently watched a few while on a plane.  I'm pretty sure that my fellow passengers were wondering what I was doing, as I was gasping in flight at something that was going on, on a show.  I've been told there's a way to convert DVD's to mp4 for display on the video ipod.  I would LOVE that, since it would allow me to watch movies in flight (or while working out) rather than just downloaded TV shows. 

Free video podcasts for the ipod have made a nice addition to my viewing as well.  I like the Ted Talks videos for watching while working out. 

[to be continued]