Evynn McFalls loves movies and television, but he’s been watching Netflix less of late — and now he’s thinking of giving it up altogether.
“I just don’t know if it’s really worth the time suck of endless scrolling or the money,” the 27-year-old New York City-based marketing professional told MarketWatch, hours after news broke that the content streaming giant was making its largest subscription rate increase to date, with its most used plan going to a $13 monthly price from $11.
The Associated Press reported the subscription cash influx will go towards Netflix’s
bet on original programming and its debt, incurred to beat back competitors. Lavish original series like “The Crown,” about the life of Queen Elizabeth II of England don’t come cheap. Its stock price jumped Tuesday on the news.
‘I just don’t know if it’s really worth the time suck of endless scrolling or the money.’
Yet McFalls — who also has an Amazon
Prime account and finds himself watching some more cable TV lately — said the original Netflix programming “tends to be hit or miss.” For instance, he loved “Maniac,” but was “less enthusiastic” about “Birdbox,” the apocalyptic science fiction movie starring Sandra Bullock. He would’ve passed on it, if it wasn’t for the horror flick’s buzz.
At this point, being in on the latest release just might not be worth it all, he said. Unless he knows precisely what he wants to see, McFalls said he’ll browse for a couple minutes reading descriptions. But he doesn’t like to invest too much time doing that. “I usually end up doing something else,” he said.
And watching Netflix with friends is a whole different issue. “We get caught in a war of attrition. Nobody has an answer,” he said — it’s just “awkward” scrolling. “It’s bad enough to do that alone.”
Watching Netflix with friends? ‘We get caught in a war of attrition. Nobody has an answer.’
Netflix executives have previously written that they strive to grab a viewer’s attention with a selection in the first 60 to 90 seconds of browsing, but there may be others like McFalls who come up empty despite their searching.
There’s all sorts of research on “decision fatigue” and how it touches on things like chess moves,parole decisions and impulse buys. Bruce Springsteen even sang about pointless perusing with his 1992 tune, “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).”
Back in 2016, one study claimed streaming service viewers spent an average 19 minutes every day deciding what to watch; as the choices keep expanding, it’s a good guess time totals will keep expanding too.
Emily Groch, director of insights, telecommunication at Mintel Comperemedia, a market research company, said Netflix and other streaming services are well aware of viewers like McFalls wearily wondering what to watch. This is why they keep working on personalization, she said.
“Where they are not hitting that mark, they could risk losing those customers,” she said.
Groch knows the issue personally. There are times she’ll take half an hour to figure out what to watch, and if she’s unsuccessful, she makes her husband pick. And if he can’t do it, there’s always “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers” reruns to watch, she said.
The average consumer has two video streaming services and pays $45 monthly for all that content, according to Groch.
Groch said Netflix’s price hike is “basically taking advantage of a window of time right now,” she said. This is “before the competitive pressure really heats up later this year” with the expected entry of Disney
in the streaming game.
Netflix, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, is slated to release its 2018 fourth quarter results on Thursday. In its 2018 third quarter results, the company said it reached 137 million viewers.
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