I’ve just come to the end of another stint of Netflix. This online channel for film and TV show distribution has been running for years and I think it has reached a mature model not least in the fact that it is both easy to sign up and, crucially, to disengage.
The highlight of this run has probably been watching every episode of the classic geek drama The IT Crowd. It would be fair to say that, since it was first broadcast in 2006, the phrase “have you turned it off and on again” is less often on the lips of IT technicians as software has become more stable but it is still part of the troubleshooting vocabulary. Incidentally, I noticed on my Mac recently that the default icon for an MS Windows machine on the network is a monitor showing a “blue screen of death”. I’ll have to dig around Windows 10 sometime soon and see if that presents a spinning ball anywhere in relation to Macs!
Back to Netflix, what I like is the fact that they don’t make it difficult to say goodbye. I’ve spent about £12 over a couple of months, for which Jane and I have been able to watch not only a complete TV series but also a wide variety of other programmes and films. Some of those have been excellent and, when they haven’t been, it doesn’t feel like too much of a loss to turn off. Netflix has a large catalogue but it is far from comprehensive. However, by the time we return perhaps later this year and almost certainly at some point next year, there will be more than enough to justify the admission fee, which is no more than the cost of a single cinema ticket per month.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the BBC gets round to putting a charge on watching their iPlayer service. I hope that they will at least have the option of a monthly fee and keep their programmes around for longer rather than relying on a yearly licence and sticking with their current, shorter term programme retention policy.