A few months ago I encountered a dilemma I thought had been permanently solved in the age of everything/anywhere media: I really needed to see a particular movie, and I couldn’t find it for rent. I was slotted to write an essay on Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, the seminal black independent film by Melvin Van Peebles, but it was unavailable on Netflix’s DVD service, my longtime resource for such fare.

This was weird, because I had rented it once before from Netflix, in 2009.

What had happened to it?

I tried Amazon streaming and iTunes, but no dice. I would have run down to my local video store, but I don’t have a local video store. I struck out at the San Francisco Public Library as well, leaving me with two choices: I was either going to have to buy the DVD, eating into my fee, or try to download it illegally.

Luckily, I found a last-minute solution when my wife borrowed Sweetback from a library in Marin. But the entire process took about a week, leaving me with less time to write about the film. (Update Sept 23: The San Francisco Public Library does have the film now, apparently. Someone has also posted it on YouTube. I actually talked to Melvin Van Peebles today and asked him if he’d given permission to anyone to put the film on YouTube. “No,” he said, “but if I run into them in a dark alley they’ll be sorry.”)

The episode was disconcerting. I had started using Netflix around the millennium because it seemed like a great idea with no downside (the eventual disappearance of video stores notwithstanding). I was paying a fortune in late fees at my local disc-o-mat, and Netflix’s so-called “long tail” strategy of amassing a vast array of niche content in addition to popular titles appealed to me, as did having the ability to get what looked to be every single movie ever released on DVD delivered straight to my door. And rarely did Netflix disappoint when there was something I wanted to watch, no matter how esoteric.

Which is why I have remained one of the doddering, AARP-eligible movie fans who have never moved to Netflix’s streaming service, despite the company’s best efforts to push me in that direction. True, I sometimes feel like my grandmother, who often mistook cell phones for electric razors, but I have my reasons, the main one being the considerable dearth of content on the streaming side. Here’s a for-instance, and as random benchmarks go it’s not bad: IndieWire reported last year that only six of the movies on Spike Lee’s list of 86 essential films were available on Netflix streaming. (Lee later revised the list, and Netflix currently streams eight of those 94 films.)

The meager selection is so notorious that The Onion targeted it this year. From the humor website in January:

“In a swift and unexpected departure from their present business model, officials from Netflix revealed Wednesday that the company is currently considering adding a good movie to their online streaming service…..“We feel the addition of a popular, above-average, well-made film would provide a nice counterbalance to our existing library of poorly received sequels, totally unknown indie dramas from four or five years ago that you’ve never heard of, and horrendous direct-to-DVD horror features.”

Now Go the DVDs…

And now it seems, while still nowhere as haphazard as the streaming selection, the company’s once reliably complete DVD selection is becoming less so all the time. After my Sweet Sweetback dilemma, I began to note that some DVDs that used to sit patiently awaiting their turn in my queue had dropped down to the “saved” section, where the time of their availability is listed as “unknown.” I think it is safe to say, you can translate that as “never.” Earlier this year, I mentioned this incredibly shrinking DVD phenomenon to John Taylor, the buyer at San Francisco’s Le Video, and he told me Netflix’s DVD collection was now absent a growing number of significant titles, including a passel of Woody Allen films.

Woody Allen? I checked, finding all unavailable as DVDs or Blu-rays: Bananas, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Sweet and Lowdown, Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask, and September. And just a few months later, additionally AWOL from Allen’s oeuvre: Love and Death, Celebrity, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, Bullets Over Broadway, and Take the Money and Run. (Via streaming, you can watch only Annie Hall, Scoop, and Manhattan.)

While Netflix’s legacy DVD service still fares relatively well on the Spike Lee test, 11 films from his original list, or 13 percent, are listed as unavailable or “Very long wait.” Watching the mailbox for a “very long wait,” experience shows, is like waiting for The Great Pumpkin. Such staples of home consumption as La Strada, Raising Arizona and The Road Warrior are included in the missing.

Cinephiles in a Bind

Mark Taylor is KQED’s senior interactive producer for arts and culture and teaches media theory and criticism at USF and the Art Institutes of California. He’s on Netflix’s five DVDs-at-at-a-time plan, which costs $27.99 a month ($33.99 including Blu-ray) and has long used Netflix to preview films he’s considering teaching in class. But he says he can no longer rely on the service for research the way he once did.

“My experience is that you end up with a bunch of things that have a very long wait and then they never come,” he said. “Things that were once available aren’t anymore.” Nine of the films at the top of his DVD queue are very long waits, he said, “sitting there forever.”

Netflix didn’t want to talk to me about their movie catalogue, leaving me to rely on the speculation of a couple of video store folks that the company’s DVD selection is shrinking most likely because it is not replacing damaged disks.

“Things go out of print and become much harder to find,” said David Hawkins, co-owner of Lost Weekend Video in San Francisco. He said that when something is no longer available through the usual outlets, breaks or is stolen, any store has to make a decision about whether to invest in purchasing a copy at prices that can be exorbitant because of its scarcity. (Which still wouldn’t explain why Netflix doesn’t have DVDs like Bullets Over Broadway, Celebrity or Sweet and Low Down, readily available to purchase on Amazon.)

In any event, for those who still rely on Netflix’s DVD service, the conventional wisdom is it would be wise to prepare to be cast adrift entirely. Netflix says it now makes more than twice the profits from streaming than from DVDs. Last quarter, its DVD business lost another 391,000 subscribers, leaving the total number of physical-media dead-enders, still excited by the sight of a fresh red envelope in the mailbox, at 6.3 million in the U.S. That’s compared to about 35 million streamers. Last year, Netflix started closing its distribution centers around the country and recently it stopped shipping on Saturdays. The Guardian reports that Netflix has spent no money on marketing its DVD business this year. Summing it all up, Businessweek wrote last October: “The writing is on the wall … At some point, there’s an end of the line for Netflix’s DVD business. We just don’t quite know yet when that point will come.”

Where Have All The Good Films Gone?

If and when the inevitable does happen, and Netflix sells off its vast supply of DVDs for drink coasters, what will cinephiles like Mark Taylor and I do? Wait for streaming to become as robust as the DVD service once was?

Unlikely. The death of Netflix DVDs could very well spell the end of the golden days of one-stop shopping. Check out this 2013 Netflix PR video communicating that the company should no longer be looked upon as a massive movie library. What it really is, it says, is the “Internet’s largest television network.”

With every title we add, we remain focused on our goal of being an expert programmer (vocal emphasis in the video) offering a mix that delights our members rather than trying to be a broad distributor. We’re selective about what titles we add to Netflix …. we can’t license everything and also maintain our low prices. So we look for those titles that deliver the biggest viewership relative to the licensing costs. This also means that we’ll forego or choose not to renew some titles that aren’t watched enough relative to their costs.

What Netflix is talking about here is not just the absence of exotic fare like Sweet Sweetback, it affects a lot of newer films, too. And that is not going to change anytime soon, writes Farhad Manjoo in his New York Times piece from March called “Why Streaming Sites So Fail to Satisfy.”

“(W)e aren’t anywhere close to getting a service that allows customers to pay a single monthly fee for access to a wide range of top-notch movies and TV shows,” he writes. “For those of us with even slightly selective preferences, we’ll have to pick between different rental and subscription services offering different catalogs of programs, none very extensive, at vastly different price points.”

The reason? Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle put it this way in January:

Old-fashioned video rental stores, and Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service, are governed by something called “first-sale doctrine”: Once I sell you a physical copy of a movie or song, you can do whatever you like with the physical object, except copy it or show it publicly… But streaming is governed by a different set of rules for digital content. You can’t stream a movie to someone unless the rights holders have agreed to let you do so. … Essentially, Netflix cannot afford to buy the rights to all the movies you want to watch.

“The renting of videos was not a permissions-based business model,” says Ted Hope, a film producer and former head of the San Francisco Film Society who is now the CEO of Fandor, a subscription streaming site that focuses on independent and art films. “Any store could buy and rent videos. So it was ideal for access; you could find anything, and every city had one of these great video stores that specialized in breadth of content. The irony is we now get to hear about everything better than we ever did, but accessing it is a real challenge, because the licensing model hasn’t evolved at the same pace of technology. Consumers are at this moment where there’s a gulf between what’s affordable for a platform and what licensers expect to get.”

Back to the Video Store?

Megan McArdle wrote in that same article that Netflix’s movie library “is no longer actually a good substitute for a good movie rental place.”

You can’t get most of the esoteric stuff online whereas a place like San Francisco’s Le Video, run by certified film nuts, is packed with obscure titles you’ve never even heard of. Ah, Le Video. Mark Taylor still makes the trek across the city from his Potrero Hill home when he can’t procure a film more easily. “Le Video has everything,” he says, exaggerating only slightly. The store, renting videos, DVDs, and Blu-rays since 1980, is home to some 80-90,000 titles, still available even in its less roomy incarnation.

So, considering the jejune grab bag of films available via streaming, and assuming streaming may one day be the only game in town, you wonder: Could there be an opportunity for video stores to become relevant again?

Michael Fox is a local film critic who used to regularly frequent Gramophone Video on Polk Street to review films for the CinemaLit film series he runs at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco. “If I wanted to check out The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, for instance, I went to Gramophone,” he said.

So where does he find those films now that the store is closed?

“I’m just not seeing those movies,” he said. “I try and research, do more reading online to get a sense of the picture, or talk to people whose opinions I trust, which is not ideal.”

The few remaining local video stores in San Francisco are barely getting by. Still, they are not devoid of patrons. At Lost Weekend Video on Valencia Street recently, maybe 10 customers entered the store over the course of an hour. I asked one, Cass Cantine of San Francisco, why he still got his movies there. “Local video stores like this have exactly what I want to see when I want to see it,” he said.

What about Netflix?

“Netflix doesn’t carry what I want.”

recent analysis of the video rental industry by business forecasting firm IBIS World held out some hope for brick-and-disc stores, provided they can adapt. While the report said the industry is in “the declining stage of its life cycle,” it conceded that “some niche, specialized stores will be able to maintain a profit.” For example, the report said, stores might offer a deep collection of genre or locally relevant films.

Gwen Sanderson, co-owner of Video Wave in Noe Valley, says for those who want to simply rent a film as opposed to purchasing, many titles are still only available through video stores. She mentions The Seven Percent Solution, a Sherlock Holmes movie starring Alan Arkin as Sigmund Freud, unavailable on Netflix or iTunes and purchasable on Amazon for about $18 (and not carried by the San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, or Berkeley public libraries — still resources for many).

“There are hundreds like this,” Sanderson said. “If we close, people will have to buy them to watch them. The reality is we’re going to leave a lot of options behind that are available to us in our current collection.”

I asked her if she thought video stores could retool themselves as repositories of harder-to-find titles. “I don’t know if we can address that in time to save our business,” she said. But renting rarer films for a higher fee might be one option, she suggested.

Still, if you really want to see a particular film…

… I have found you probably will be able to find it online — somehow, some way — though your ability to overcome technical obstacles, overlook inferior image quality, and tolerate dipping into the louche world of illegal downloading will dictate the quality of the experience. Technology reporter Alex Hearn of the UK’s Guardian stuck up for physical media recently when he wrote, “When it comes to discs, a flaky broadband connection or buggy BT Homehub can’t derail the experience — something that can’t be said for streaming. There’s little worse than settling down for an evening movie and watching it buffer for five minutes, before playing 30 seconds then buffering again.”

Still, it’s a mark of just how much stuff is out there that I was able to find several films online that interviewees in this piece mentioned were unavailable. And with tools like Google’s Chromecast I could even stream them to my TV.

Looked terrible. But you get used to it.

For Cinephiles, Netflix Is Less and Less an Option 23 September,2014Jon Brooks

  • Haw Haw

    The “Fahrenheit 451” of books and films has been underway for a few years now. And you call yourself a reporter?

  • Just for reference, Facets Video was the *first* rental by mail operation in the country (flourishing with VHS back in the 1980s) and could have easily solved your problem: http://www.facetsmovies.com/

    Take a look – this is what a truly accessible video collection looks like…

  • towergrove

    Good article. I do not have trouble finding the films I enjoy however because i prefer to purchase vs rent. I dont think that is going away. Sell thru of Physical as well as Electronic (which is growing rapidly) is key as its still is a 8 to 10 billion dollar business in 2014 which is hardly chump change. I am looking forward to Ultraviolet Common File Formats for digital purchases as well as physical 4K Blurays coming in 2015. Also remember that if you prefer to rent your local library can be a good source and the can Worldcat any video you cannot find locally.

  • BrainiacV

    What was really annoying for me was discovering Babylon 5 on Netflix and then after watching just the first two episodes, it was yanked from the service. Grrrr.

  • Netflix Instant has definitely moved away from any goal to carry every movie, that’s for sure, and it’s understandable. For $8 a month, their model makes sense (and they do have a lot of good stuff, regardless of criticism). But iTunes runs on a pay-per-movie rental model, so theoretically that should be easier, no? I mean, obviously they don’t have everything either, as exemplified by the Sweetback failure, but they certainly have a lot more than subscription services like Netflix. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to hope that between iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, etc., that a high percentage of films might eventually be available for digital rental.

    I suppose the licensing is still different than disc rentals, but is it as difficult/convoluted/expensive as subscription streaming services? I’m actually asking that, because I don’t know. This article is great, but conflates subscription and rental services as if they were the same and had the same business model, and I’d be interested to see how they’re different on the licensing end and what the prognosis is for rental services.

  • Distribution411

    Good article. However, the one statement that Netflix makes “more than twice the profits from streaming than from DVDs” is possibly NOT true. I didn’t delve into the numbers at your link, and it’s been a good year since I delved into one of their financial reports, but as of 1 to 1.5 years ago, their only profits were coming from their DVD business (due to their content/licensing costs for streaming). And with Netflix, one really has go below the surface of whatever the “surface numbers” are, because their licensing/content costs are HUGE. At that 1 to 1.5 years ago, they were literally breaking even on that side of the business or slightly in the red. I’m sure it’s better now, but it wouldn’t have gone from break-even to double DVDs profits in 1 or 1.5 years. (Even with losing some disc-only customers.)

    Also, when looking at their financials, how are they amortizing their licensing costs? Equal amounts per year during the course of each particular deal? Or are they playing around with their books, to make it look better to their shareholders and prop up the share price?

    Unfortunately, while Netflix’s goal was to become the leader of streaming, and kill the DVD business, they’ve succeeded at the latter, but not the former. They may think they’re the leader of streaming, and while they may have the largest monthly subscriber base in the U.S. for streaming, they don’t control this streaming market with (approximately) a 32% share.

    J. Courshon
    The Secrets to Film Distribution

  • Anson J

    An open letter to Netflix and the “streaming industry”:

    As I’ve always said, “Fuck Netflix.” The streaming model and the impending death of DVD that it facilitated has basically turned the vast cultural wealth of the art of cinema into a transitory product whose value is now solely based on the popular whims of the market and of technology. Want to someday show your grandchildren the original version of King Kong or Citizen Kane? Better hope people are still ordering it on Netflix in the future, or those films will just become cultural vapor. Want to find out what David Fincher was thinking when he directed Fight Club? You could find it on the commentary track of the DVD or Blu Ray, but unfortunately, discs have been announced to go the way of VHS in two years. Cinema, as a part of our cultural legacy is now dead. They’ve burned down the library. Movies are now McRibs. Fuck you, Netflix!

  • Distribution411

    Addendum to my comment earlier today:
    I just ran the numbers: Netflix has about 6 Million disc subscribers. This brings in $576M per year, currently. In 2013, Netflix’s adjusted net income was about $130M. This means that their disc-by-mail business is STILL the only thing keeping them in the black. It is still the only part of their business that is profitable, as their streaming business is still very much in the red (as it was in 2012). So the author of this article stating that their streaming is making twice the profits of their DVD business… this is absolutely not true. Thanks.

    • Steve

      You are 100% correct. I noticed that myself while reading this otherwise excellent column.

  • Lisa

    Did you just google the title? It’s on youtube in its entirety.

    • Jay Taylor

      What title are you talking about?

  • eddy j

    There’s also Greencine, an excellent Bay Area online DVD service that does focus on excellent cinema.

  • DMD

    I never found the films I wanted on Netflix. The films I want access to our international and independent films that largely screen only at film festivals. While I would prefer to see them at festivals or large individual screen theaters now mostly long gone, I would settle for DVD or streaming if I actually could access them. I think the MPAA is a big part of the pr9blem, limiting distribution of DVD and streaming to keep Hollywood king, limit diversity, and force us all to watch awful superhero movies and cartoops and dizzying 3d ad nauseum. Netflix never had true diversity. It may now be worse. I would not have not noticed. If anyone can tell me where I can find the diversity I seek, please let me know.

    • sofia cardita

      Mubi.com is the best one i know.

  • Christopher Le

    You have failed as a San Franciscan good sir, always start at Lost Weekend > Netflix http://www.lostweekendvideo.com/

  • johnnyrocket

    I just don’t get it, why can’t Netflix or whoever have a “premium” streaming service, with better titles, for a few bucks more per month. Why would the movie production houses be against that? They get their cut from the monthly fee for whatever movies are watched that month, and guaranteed more viewers for any movie out there.

  • Stating The Obvious

    No mention of bittorrent or archive.org, two very different alternatives for streaming hard to find films to you in the comfort of your home…

  • CineNaste

    3 Solutions:

    1.) Search for the movie on the internet

    2.) Check your local library

    3.) Use canistream.it

  • mxt

    They should add a torrenting component to their service. That way they could deliver a movie to you slowly and you’d be able to watch it when it was fully delivered.

  • David Vedvick

    I think there’s a real possibility that indie movies (or smaller distribution movies) could move to a model of distributing via bittorrent, it would certainly reduce the costs of production quite a bit.

  • Emil Culic

    Popcorn-time.

  • Jeremy

    It looks like there are 10 copies in the SF public library system, with 3 available. Or am I missing something?

  • Keegan

    That’s why Fandor is in the game. They’re trying to fill the gaps left by bigger players.

  • Amazon’s model makes a bit more sense and could be the answer here: a certain number of titles are available for “free” with their Prime subscription service, but most movies must be purchased at the time of renting. With this setup, the business is able to recoup costs for procuring films that are more rare, while still proffering the cheap fare that most plebs consume.

    The only hurdles now are: 1) diligence in offering every film possible for streaming, and 2) providing an option to download the film entirely before playing so that buffering doesn’t ruin the experience (DRM is totally fine in this case), and 3) providing the same extras that can be found on DVD or Blu-ray.

    Can Amazon do this (because it seems apparent that Netflix doesn’t care to)? Or will some other company step in to this wide-open market opportunity?

    • Adam

      As I recall, iTunes used to make you download everything, including rentals, before you could watch it. Now you can watch rentals from them streaming, and I’m guessing that temporary download is still and option.

  • Zac

    This is a great article, and I think the notion of rental-store-as-boutique is intriguing. Check out Scarecrow Video in Seattle — long considered one of the most extensive libraries in the world. They are currently trying to transition from video rental store into a non-profit video library. It seems like an interesting way to address the financial difficulties that rental stores have been facing for the past decade.

  • SFTed

    In addition to iTunes, I’ve really come to rely on SnagFilms as an alternative for streaming films I would never easily find elsewhere. Caveat: It is only available to stream to your computer, but if you have an AppleTV, you can stream content to your TV from your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device using AirPlay.

  • Susan

    Over 800 titles from the Criterion Collection (including supplemental features, like interviews) are on Hulu Plus – http://www.criterion.com/hulu

  • You realize that this is the world created by the copyright holders, not Netflix, right? The problem isn’t that Netflix doesn’t want people to see good movies, the problem is that content licensing is exorbitantly expensive and the copyright holders are perfectly content for content to be less available but more expensive.

    There are times when the *only* way to obtain a digital copy (and in extreme cases, any copy at all) of something is via piracy. That is insane. If you want to bemoan the death of cinema, it’s not the streaming services you should point fingers at, it’s the studios.

    • This is not exactly true. The problem is that Netflix doesn’t want to pay the price to make certain good movies streamable. Netflix is looking for “deals” (i.e., hidden gems which they can buy streaming rights to for cheap). That rules out lots of high quality content. It may be that the rights holder may be unavailable or it might be required for the various rights holders to make additional agreements to obtain streaming rights. But when the money’s good enough, it’s funny how these obstacles tend to disappear.

  • nerdrrage

    I’ve noticed the weird Very-Long-Wait phenomena for an apparently random group of titles – Road to Morocco, Destry Rides Again, La Dolce Vita, The King of Comedy, The Guns of Navarone, you get the picture, it’s a grab-bag. And other similar titles are not affected. This went on for months, in some cases maybe years. None of them were priorities so I paid no heed. But I got curious to see if I could “fix” it, so I bumped all the VLW’s up to the top of my queue and after a couple days, they started to “melt” down to Short Waits or no waits at all. Something funky is going in in Netflix’s brain there. The bigger issue that DVD days are numbered still stands…I guess I better charge thru all my never-seen-that movies and be content with new releases from here on out. Or schlep across town to Le Video. I guess my membership is still good.

  • Shonya

    As usual, cityphile writers completely ignore that much of America’s viewing public is rural and does not have access to unlimited, cost-effective internet plans. Streaming for us is not at all realistic and will never be with data caps and big telecom refusing to lay cable in rural areas as our government typically lets them do or not do whatever they want. I grew up in the Bay Area, but now choose rural living. I shouldn’t be in a media blackout because of it and it angers me that rural consumers are always left out of the discussion, as in this myopic article.

  • the big problem with Facets is their outdated website. loads of movies are listed which are actually unavailable with no hint whatsoever as to that being the case. you essentially have to get a staffer to go over your queue and send you back a detailed report as to what is and isn’t in stock, otherwise you’re going to find yourself waiting forever for a fair number of the movies on your list.

  • Even the ship times are way delayed for me lately on Netflix. But yet – I hate physically returning things (yes, I’m lazy, whatever). My local library is a great option, though, but still – Netflix’s DVD service is NOT what it used to be.

  • At this date, I notice that there’s a “VERY LONG WAIT” for a lot more of my titles than there were a few years ago. In 2006-2009, it seemed that Netflix DVDs had everything available ASAP or after a SHORT WAIT. Now that is no longer true. This mystifies me, because it always seemed that for “VERY LONG WAIT” titles Netflix could either buy additional DVDs/Blue Rays or (if they had the rights) burn their own DVDs. NYT recently had a report on the shrinking DVD business: “Netflix has 5.3 million DVD subscribers, a significant falloff from its
    peak of about 20 million in 2010; still, the division continues to churn
    out hundreds of millions of dollars in profit each year.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/business/while-its-streaming-service-booms-netflix-streamlines-old-business.html?ref=topics . I know it sounds fashionable to knock Netflix’s paucity of streaming titles, but from the very start Netflix has always been about buying streaming rights for cheap and being on the hunt for “biggest bang for the buck.” When streaming started to grow popular in 2010 or so, Netflix had made amazing deals with the majors which by now have run out (but some have not run out and still are providing a ton of value. (A commenter pointed out that Criterion — which used to be available for streaming from Netflix — now has practically all their catalog streamable at hulu plus, which is a bargain!)

    Amazon’s collection of free titles plus buy-on-demand seems like the most viable business model, but lots of major TV shows seem to be unavailable except as DVD box sets (notably with All in the Family, Jeffersons, Mary Tyler Moore shows). (Update, I checked these shows on canistreamit.com website and discover that MTM is streamable in several places, itunes has episodes for sale at 1.99, Jeffersons is streamable on comcast cable). Finally, let me mention that it’s curious how many movies are out on DVD which Netflix never seems to carry. My movie critic friend has been raving about a recent DVD release of a 50s film called “Tall Target” http://www.popmatters.com/post/154878-the-tall-target/ — and I agree it’s an amazing film that is precisely the sort of thing that Netflix DVD would carry (long tail and all), but it never has been. And yet Netflix has never carried it (and neither does Greencine, etc). I think the shrinking base of DVD subscribers means that it no longer makes sense for these services to offer everything (and heck, Tall Target sells used DVDs on Amazon for $11).

  • Anthony Hewetson

    For that matter, Netflix carries very little from entire eras or genres of film. They may be in poor taste but the Filipino films of Roger Corman, Geraldo De Leon, etc … have huge fan bases. The entire genre is missing. These were the mainstay of the drive-in industry of the late 60s and 70s and are readily available for purchase from Amazon. I think Netflix sees UR on a film and chooses to avoid controversy by distributing movies that might offend. I don’t think Netflix should be in the business of deciding what is or is not trash – I would put the worst effort of Roger Corman up against the best effort by Michael Bay – but should, as the monopoly holder of disc rental, make every effort to get stuff out there.

  • Jomama

    I hate how they ONLY have premium channel shows on their DVD plan. I’m currentily on their DVD plan free trial & I dont see ANY shows from the networks I care about like Fox, FX, CW, SyFy channel, Comedy central or CBS. Allot of the shows on the ‘premium networks’ I couldn’t really care less about. Its bad enough that they got rid of a bunch of shows they used to have on their streaming plan now this?

    I remember way back on my old netflix account I was able to find a bunch of shows from those networks I listed. I used to even be able to find mini seires that are hard to find on DVD now. I don’t blame netflix entirely as it is up to the networks because they hold the rights to those programs. But rights holders made it so hard for netflix to keep content they resorted to creating their own TV shows. The problem is rights holders see it as a cash grab & jack up the prices of the rights to those shows.

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