Friday, February 10, 2006

Throttling at Netflix

Here's a really informative and well-done AP piece about Netflix's admitted practice of throttling high-volume users of its DVDs-by-post service. Renters with a frequent turnover, who cost Netflix more money in to-and-from postage each month, often find that it takes longer for popular movies to arrive in their mailboxes. The company apparently gives preference to more infrequent renters. I can't really blame them as a company for instituting this practice, because it still seems like a good deal even for those with ravenous movie-watching (or DVD-copying) appetites. An extra few days here and there doesn't really ruin the cost benefit and convenience as far as I can tell, although I don't ever see myself as being flagged as a high-volume renter, since I'm prone to leaving one of those red and white envelopes sitting around my apartment for as much as a week. I have the $10-a-month (one-at-a-time) plan, and while I may not get 5 or 6 rentals per month, I still think of it as a nice convenience, especially since I like to see films that aren't always highly Blockbuster-able. For those with a higher movie metabolism, I'd imagine the key to avoid being throttled by Netflix would be to mix it up a bit and not be so aggressive in turning around every DVD you get ASAP.

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