Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Netflix No Binge

“Netflix reportedly plans to start releasing episodes weekly”: https://bit.ly/3Rzz2hf

That’s how the music industry got into trouble, ignoring its customers in search of an ever-increasing bottom line.

It all depends on the customers, right? Isn’t that why Netflix is ​​pivoting on every level?

Maybe you don’t pay attention to streaming, but it’s a very dark path that these companies are taking. Produce less content for more money as they add ads and look like TV networks of old, while charging more. Never mind that the old TV networks were, and still are, FREE!

I mean, you want to run ads and charge me too? Make me feel like a second-class citizen?

It’s one thing if you’re Spotify tricking profiteers into paying until full haul, full payment. And it works. You see the free tier is hampered. No one who really wants to listen to music enjoys it. And no one who watches TV likes ads, even if they are sometimes superior to the crap the networks provide.

So I was a member of an elite club at Netflix, that’s how I felt, regardless of the number of subscribers to the service. It was all about me. They were doing intellectual content, more and better than HBO. And their algorithm was based on my habits. I paid for the privilege, but that’s fine, the same way you pay for Louis Vuitton or Tiffany or Rolex or even Apple!

Come on, Apple products are premium priced, but millions of people have them. Yet owners feeling good about them is a badge of honor.

So now the tail is wagging the dog. Investors run these companies.

Let’s start with Warner Music. Which Time Warner blew up for $2.6 billion in 2004. Currently, the record label is worth $14.05 billion, and the assets are still intact! With this catalog of the greatest hits of the rock era, it will pay dividends forever! And students of the game know that revenue from recorded music will only increase because there are so many opportunities to exploit, not to mention old ones having value they no longer had in a sales model, you get paid when people stream old songs today!

No one likes streaming except the crazy artists who don’t understand that if no one listens they don’t get paid, and the enemy isn’t Spotify itself, which pays two-thirds of the revenue to rightsholders and still struggles to make a profit.

Then again, someone is always left behind in the transition from old to new. Ventilate the windows? History in the era of universal air conditioning in cars.

So you get all the music for ten dollars a month. The deal of the century.

But on TV…

There’s an astronomical cable bill.

There is hope there though, because of 5G broadband, or whatever comes after it, because 5G broadband has such a small range. Yet T-Mobile now sells home routers.

And then there’s the cable package, where you overpay for what you don’t want. So people are dropping the TV part. But that leaves them with a huge broadband bill. But now they have a wireless alternative.

HBO was an alternative to the network. And Netflix was an alternative to HBO. More content, on request.

Now?

David Zaslav, the financial hero of the ignorant, cuts content on HBO Max.

And Netflix has ads.

Why do you expect people to pay for it?

THEY ARE NOT!

This is the big streaming story, unsubscribe. People sign up for a series and then sign out. I cashed out my Apple TV+ subscription. It used to be free, but I paid for a month and didn’t watch anything. So I heard about an Apple TV+ show, just yesterday actually, with good RottenTomatoes ratings, but I’m not signing up again until there are more shows, because Apple is a scam. The cheapest with the least product. I am leaving. And it’s not about the money, it’s an INSULT! I would sign up to watch an entire show right away, but if they think I’m going to subscribe for months to watch a show, they have another idea coming up!

HBO Max is supported by its cable channel. All his figures are obscure. Very few sign up for HBO Max directly, they have the service because they pay for HBO through their cable system, which is like believing in CDs. So you have an award-winning television that appeals to those who don’t even know how to stream, is that a future?

But the worst offense is that you can’t get all the products at a low price.

Yes, give me a number. I’m in. Give me all. Like with music streaming services. But TV is balkanized and getting worse. And who wins?

Certainly not the creators who renounce their residues. TV streaming is based on buyouts.

Streaming companies have the false impression that we need their product. Which is obviously false. We can miss anything these days as there are more products in the pipeline, overwhelming diversions. And the dirty little secret is that TikTok is better than any streaming service, it’s more creative, more honest, AND IT’S FREE!

But the old TikTok pooh-pooh. They never experienced it. Down the rabbit hole, it’s addictive, it’s fulfilling, and way better than those Netflix-produced copycat network shows. Hasn’t the network already taught us that being everything to everyone is death? And HBO illustrated that the elite can have a very large audience.

It’s what blasted Netflix, “House of Cards,” one of the best TV shows ever made. Not only have I been a fan of Netflix ever since, I’ve trumpeted the service, but no more, I’m done.

I mean I’ll be watching for a while, but I’m not going to rave about Netflix itself. Because Netflix is ​​indebted to Wall Street, not me. It’s not the renegade, it’s the establishment!

Just think of the no-frenzy model. You go to the movies and have to come back next week to finish the movie, which is eight weeks in a row.

No, you see the film all at once!

And series are the new movies, to the point where aside from blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick,” most people don’t even bother to go to the theater anymore. To see overpriced lame photos?

All the action was on TV. It is the medium of a creator. Driven by talent rather than costumes.

But now that has changed, the purse strings have been tightened, the outcome is key, and you have programmers no different from Fred Silverman trying to figure out what will appeal to the most people… JUST LIKE NETWORK TV!

One of the most rewarding things I do in my life is binge-watch television. I just finished “Salamander”, twenty-two episodes.

As for “Ted Lasso”… I didn’t even bother to watch the second season, I couldn’t do it one episode a week and when it was all over it was buzz so what difference does it make ? And I don’t care what you say, it’s a good show, but it’s not ‘House of Cards’, let alone ‘The Godfather’.

The path to glory is always paved with high-end products. We learned this in the heyday of the music industry and the heyday of cinema in the 70s. These efforts drive the culture. They attract attention and grow accordingly. When you put the result first… Isn’t that how Warner Bros. Records grew in the first place? You wanted to be on the label with not just Neil Young, but Ry Cooder, you thought the executives cared about you. I used to think Reed Hastings cared about me, BUT NO MORE!

It’s one thing if you have an absolute monopoly, but when people feel ripped off, they’re just waiting for a way around it, maybe paying nothing at all. It was the story of Napster and BitTorrent.

Spotify has killed piracy, getting rid of the frenzy model incites BitTorrent!

And killing the conversation.

There’s this illusion that we’re standing around the water cooler and discussing the shows the night after when…WE DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO TO WORK TO START!

I’ve missed almost every recent HBO show even “Succession” because I can’t wait for the drip week to week and then I find myself too far behind to catch up and this is just a TV show anyway.

And I am the bleeding edge.

I remember all the crap in the music world two decades ago. They would do these polls to ask kids what the music was worth, and they would quote these high prices and still steal.

Entertainment is run by the gut, not the spreadsheet. You cannot make regular income. It’s what’s killing Detroit, selling overloaded SUVs, and being wiped out by Tesla with electricity. Detroit felt like they were giving people what they wanted, maybe, but they didn’t care what people were going to want, changes!

Talk to car buyers, all they can talk about is power. Say they don’t plan to buy another gas-powered car. Forget those who buy used, focus on the middle class and more, who can afford new cars. If you think otherwise, you are delusional. There is no future in being stuck in the past, change is happening.

Just as the old generations will be replaced by the new ones. Young children don’t have televisions, let alone cable subscriptions. And they borrow their parents’ streaming credentials. They don’t need Netflix, they don’t need ANY streaming service, that’s why you have to make it more appealing to them, you have to give them a reason to pay attention. Which is still left field programming, like “Squid Game”. They’ll sign up for that, but not twelve months for twelve episodes, no way, that’s a bad business proposition.

In the digital world, in the world of the Internet, you give people what they want or you die.

It’s a bit like the new Apple Watch Ultra… SIXTY HOURS OF BATTERY TIME!

Yes, Apple keeps talking about sleep tracking, but how can you do that if you need to charge that damn watch. But with sixty hours…

This makes the Apple Watch usable. I’m thinking caving, I don’t care if it’s eight hundred dollars, that’s what I WANT!

That’s what it all boils down to, does your customer base WANT your product.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that people need your product, people need food and shelter, not much more, they can finally do without everything else, except maybe sex.

You have to make the customer a priority.

And the people who say they love weekly drops are the same people who love CDs and don’t trust Spotify. In other words, LUDDITES!

Give me all the options.

Smartphones offer more and more personalization. Netflix wants to take away rights I already have. Show me where this works in today’s world, I can’t think of a simple example.

TikTok has already disrupted Facebook, even Instagram, which everyone thought was impossible. Facebook focused on the bottom line and missed trends and the only people left were late adopters, oldtimers.

Don’t think visual entertainment can’t be disrupted.

Today you innovate or you die, you serve the people or you disappear.

We can do without anything, we can do without YOU Netflix!


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