Netflix Stats and iTunes Rentals

For years I've wanted to know some basic stats about my Netflix usage. How many movies am I churning through each month? How many movies have I watched total? How many movies have I watched in the best month? How many in the worst month? Netflix doesn't give you these stats directly, but you can get your full rental history and figure it out yourself. Shove the data through a Perl script and let Numbers draw some pretty pictures.

If you can't tell from the graphics, min month is 3. Max month is 16 (wow). Average is nearly 10 movies a month. In the 7 years I have been a Netflix customer, I have watched 831 movies (again wow). I guess my DVD player has earned its keep. I always figured we were going through 6-7 movies a month. That appears to have been true early on, but certainly not overall.

Other interesting items:

  • We watched a lot of movies in 2005 and 2006.

  • May seems to be a bad month for movies. I'm hoping this means that sprint was in the air and I was out on my bicycle, rather than watching movies.

  • November looks like a great movie month. I guess that makes sense. The weather is cold and there are holidays and late year vacations for movie watching. Most of the summer blockbusters are out by then too, so there's lots to choose from.

  • We rarely have two slow months back to back. This could be a product of shipping windows, or just catching up.

I was finally motivated to do this based on the rumored iTunes rentals coming at next week's MacWorld. From my prediction post, I stated $2.99 for 48 hours. If the rumored $3.99 for 24 hours comes true, Apple isn't going to see much of my movie rental money. With tax, Netflix is getting ~$17 a month. If I'm watching ~10 movies per month, I'm at $1.70 a movie and that's me watching when I want and returning it when I want. I'll have movies that are out of the mailbox and back in within 2 hours. Others will sit around for a week before they get watched. I really enjoy that. Assuming the movies from Apple won't be streaming, it will take an hour or hours to download the movie before you can watch it. If it then expires 24 hours after downloading, that would suck. It would be like those impotence commercials on TV. Once you pop that pill, the clock starts ticking.

Worse yet is the cost. $4 is pretty steep. That's as much as the local brick and mortars charge, at least I think so. I haven't been in a rental shop in over 7 years. You wouldn't have to spend time and money to drive to the store, but if the quality is sub-DVD Apple won't hear the end of the complaining. For me, the $4 doesn't match up well with the $1.70 I'm paying Netflix. I can see paying to watch something I just have to see now, or something that is stuck on Very Long Wait with Netflix, but overall, I can find something to watch while I wait a couple of days for a movie to arrive. Obviously the economics change if Netflix raises their price or my monthly totals go down. Luckily I know have the tools to help me track that! :)

I'm very interested in iTunes movie rentals. I have an Apple TV and love it. I watch a lot of movies, and I have a broadband connection. If iTunes and Apple TV are the vehicles for the content, Apple is well on their way to a winning product. Cost and quality will be the kickers for me. There are so many pricing options that I don't want to state a flat dollar amount, but to me $4 for 24 hours would be disappointing. Quality must also be near-DVD.

I think I'll go watch a movie now.

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