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How to Stick it to the One Percenters: Vote With Your Wallet



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Per an e-mail I just received as a “valued customer,” Netflix’s ill-thought experiment — a split of services into a web-streaming entity and a breakaway DVD-by-mail entity to be called “Qwikster” — has ended before it began. No bongo drums necessary:

Dear Daniel,

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

We’re constantly improving our streaming selection. We’ve recently added hundreds of movies from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM and Miramax. Plus, in the last couple of weeks alone, we’ve added over 3,500 TV episodes from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, USA, E!, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, A&E, History, and PBS.

We value you as a member, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get your movies & TV shows.

Respectfully,

The Netflix Team

Capitalism works at its best when there are as few intermediaries between customers and firms as possible. There isn’t much in the way of DVD subsidies, regulations, and mandates, and I suspect the movie-rental lobby in Washington is pitifully weak. Thus we’re left with that exquisite dance between supply and demand. It isn’t always perfect, but it’s the best thing going.

ARGH. From a reader:

Clearly you have never heard of the DMCA, Net Neutrality, or the Hollywood special Tax Breaks that Glenn Reynolds is always talking about repealing.  Netflix’s business model relies upon federal regulation to prevent their competitors (cable networks and other internet service providers) whose property Netflix uses from discriminating against the data coming from Netflix.  In other words, the government requires Netflix’s competitors to provide for Netflix’s streaming business. 

Leviathan is bigger than you think.

Sadly, yes.



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