Friday, September 30, 2011

Smells Like Tween Spirit: Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” comes to streaming in Canada

Lock up your daughters Canada! Justin Bieber is coming to Netflix Canada. On Friday September 30th “Never Say Never” will be available exclusively on Netflix streaming. “Never Say Never” follows Bieber’s meteoric rise from small town Ontario busker, to massive international superstar. The film intersperses home videos and interviews with more recent footage directly from within the maelstrom of madness that surrounds him today; as well as a great concert performance which shows why he has built the rabid fan base he has.

I’m Jason Ropell, VP of Content at Netflix, and being a Canadian myself I’m proud of the little guy from Stratford. Watch the movie and you will find it hard not to be. The movie shows him as hard working, grounded and likeable. Very Canadian indeed.

And remember if you find yourself unable to perfect that oh so famous Bieber coif…take inspiration from Justin, grab that blow dryer, keep feathering and “Never Say Never”….

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Expanded Selection from Discovery, TLC, and More!

When it comes to drama on the high seas, nothing beats the exploits of the Alaskan crab fishermen of Deadliest Catch. The addictive Discovery Channel show, which just won more Emmys than any other reality series on television this year, is now available to watch instantly.

Cindy Holland, Netflix VP of Content Acquisition here, to let you know that our new agreement with Discovery Communications greatly expands the hit shows on Netflix from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, ID, Science and the Military channel. From new seasons of current-on-air favorites like Mythbusters, Cake Boss, River Monsters, and Say Yes to the Dress to new-to-Netflix series Sister Wives and I (Almost) Got Away with It; we’re continually adding something for everyone. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Watch this now: Netflix & Facebook

We’ve talked about it coming, and it’s finally here: the Netflix/Facebook integration, which for now will be exclusively for Netflix members in Canada and Latin America.

I’m Tom Willerer from the product team and I'm excited to announce that today at Facebook’s f8 event in San Francisco we demonstrated how Netflix members will be able to connect their accounts to Facebook.

Facebook has always made it easy to discover great things through your friends. We want to make streaming from Netflix a more social experience and through the new optional Facebook connection, Netflix makes it possible for you to connect with your friends over TV series and movies online.

The Netflix/Facebook integration empowers you as a Netflix member to share what you watch from Netflix with your friends on Facebook and to discover what your friends are watching both on Facebook and within the Netflix user interface. This makes it easier and more fun to find new television series and movies to watch.

This new feature will be available before the end of September to Netflix members outside the U.S. We won’t yet enable it for U.S. members due to a 1980s law that creates some confusion over our ability to allow U.S. members to share what they watch. (You can read more about that in my colleague’s Michael Drobac’s blog post.)

As soon as the feature is enabled, you will see an option in the Netflix user interface to connect to Facebook. After connecting your Netflix account to Facebook, you will see what your friends are watching on any device that streams from Netflix, provided your friends are also connected.

Note that nothing will be shared unless you choose to connect your account to Facebook and sharing can be turned off at any time.

Here’s a look at what the Netflix/Facebook experience will be like for our members in Canada and Latin America (click on the previews below to see a larger image):

PS3:



PC/Mac:



I hope you enjoy the Facebook integration as much as we do.

Help us Bring Facebook Sharing to Netflix USA

I'm Michael Drobac, director of Government Relations at Netflix. My colleague Tom Willerer shared with you our announcement from today’s Facebook f8 event in San Francisco, CA that Netflix members in Canada and Latin America will be able to connect their accounts to Facebook. See Tom’s post for more detail.

Unfortunately, we will not be offering this feature in the U.S. because a 1980’s law creates some confusion over our ability to let U.S. members automatically share the television shows and movies they watch with their friends on Facebook. We’ll continue to look at these issues and find ways to bring you the easy, convenient and quality experiences you have come to expect, including ways to automatically share with your friends on Facebook.

The good news, however, is that some forward-thinking members of Congress have introduced legislation, H.R. 2471, that would allow you to make this choice. We’ve got some big supporters in Congress, including Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Howard Coble, Jim Sensenbrenner, Zoe Lofgren, Linda Sanchez, John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Darrell Issa, Judy Chu, Loretta Sanchez, Lee Terry and Sue Myrick but we can use more.

If you want the choice to share with your friends, please email congress to urge them to pass this modernizing legislation.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An Explanation and Some Reflections

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, “Actions speak louder than words,” and we should just keep improving our service.

But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

So here is what we are doing and why:

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD, plus lots of TV series. We want to advertise the breadth of our incredible DVD offering so that as many people as possible know it still exists, and it is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection on DVD. DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We feel we need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolve, without having to maintain compatibility with our DVD by mail service.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”.

We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow. Another advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members. Each website will be focused on just one thing (DVDs or streaming) and will be even easier to use. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges.

Andy Rendich, who has been working on our DVD service for 12 years, and leading it for the last 4 years, will be the CEO of Qwikster. Andy and I made a short welcome video. (You’ll probably say we should avoid going into movie making after watching it.) We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready. It is merely a renamed version of the Netflix DVD website, but with the addition of video games. You won’t have to do anything special if you subscribe to our DVD by mail service.

For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that distinctive red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be the same for many of you. We’ll also return to marketing our DVD by mail service, with its amazing selection, now with the Qwikster brand.

Some members will likely feel that we shouldn’t split the businesses, and that we shouldn’t rename our DVD by mail service. Our view is with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail. It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. Netflix will offer the best streaming service for TV shows and movies, hopefully on a global basis. The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.

I want to acknowledge and thank our many members that stuck with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

Respectfully yours, -Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hey, who took those titles from my instant Queue?

That's the email I woke up to this morning from a friend. Oops. I messed up. We didn't really remove any titles from the instant Queue, but I didn't explain what we did, so it looks like some titles are gone. To my friend, and to all our members, here's what's we did, and why:

We stopped showing titles that were at one point available for streaming. We did not delete those titles; we merely stopped showing them on the instant Queue page until we know exactly when they’ll again be there to watch instantly. When we know that a title will be available again it will reappear in the saved section, and once it is available it will move back into the instant Queue, with a Play button.

Why did we do this? We heard from our members that the list of unavailable titles complicates use of the instant Queue. And given the dynamic nature of our catalog that list can get long over time. So this change is intended to make the instant Queue easier to manage – by removing the inactive titles. Rest assured that we did not delete any of the title you have added to the instant Queue.

Brent.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Netflix Launches in Latin America

Starting today, people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean who love watching movies and TV shows can enjoy a service that has revolutionized the viewing habits of more than 25 million North Americans by letting them watch what they want, when and where they want.

Hi, I’m Rochelle King, Netflix VP of User Experience and Design. At Netflix, we’ve been pioneering ways to make it easy and inexpensive for people to discover and watch great movies and TV shows and I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that today, Netflix launches in Brazil and that over the next week, Netflix will launch throughout Latin America and the Caribbean – some 43 countries and territories in all.

By September 12, people throughout the Americas will be able to instantly watch a broad selection of movies and TV shows streaming from Netflix on computers, game consoles like the WII and PS3, and Smart TVs. A Netflix membership provides unlimited movies and TV shows for a low monthly subscription.  Brazilians can now sign up for one month free at www.netflix.com

Getting to this day has been incredibly rewarding for everyone at Netflix – the passion and energy that have gone into building our Latin American service is amazing. Over the last few months, our team has spent countless hours in the region learning as much as we can about how Latin Americans think about, and enjoy, movies and TV shows.

We’ve licensed thousands and thousands of hours of feature films, classic favorites, gripping telenovelas, documentaries and kids shows we know you’ll enjoy. We’ve been testing and figuring out the right internet architecture to make sure the quality and speed of the Netflix streaming experience is the best it can be.  And we’ve been training people locally to deliver the excellent customer support Netflix is known for in the U.S. and Canada.

We’ve definitely learned a lot in these past few months, and we’ll continue to learn and improve as we grow and expand our service in Latin America.  Netflix is always seeking to get better, to learn more about its members, and to deliver them incredible value and convenience.

We were excited to find out how passionate people in Latin America are about movies and TV shows, it’s an incredible opportunity for Netflix and I hope everyone in Latin America enjoys this service as much as we’ve enjoyed building it for you.

Welcome to Netflix and enjoy watching instantly!