Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Netflix No Binge

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

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

This all comes down to customers, right? Isn’t that why Netflix is ​​changing across the board?

Maybe you’re not paying attention to streaming, but it’s a very dark path that these companies are taking. Producing less content for more money as they add ads and come to resemble the TV networks of yesteryear, while charging more. Never mind that the old TV networks were and are FREE!

I mean, do 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, you incentivize freeloaders to hit full haul, full pay. And works. You will see that the free tier is locked. Nobody who really wants to listen to music enjoys it. And no one who watches TV likes commercials, even though they are sometimes superior to the crap the networks offer.

So I used to be a member of an elite club on Netflix, that’s how I felt, no matter how many subscribers the service had. It was all about me. They were making 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 have a premium price, but millions of people have them. Still, owners feel good about it, it’s a badge of honor.

So now the tail wags the dog. Investors are running these companies.

Let’s start with Warner Music. That Time Warner spent $2.6 billion in 2004. Right now, the record company is worth $14.05 billion, and the asset is still intact! With that catalog of the greatest hits of the rock era, it’s going to pay dividends forever! And the students of the game know that the revenue from recorded music will only increase, because there are so many avenues of exploitation, it doesn’t matter that the old ones have a value that they no longer had in a sales model, you get paid when people stream old songs! today!

Nobody dislikes streaming except the rave 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 revenue to rights holders and still have trouble making a profit. .

On the other hand, someone is always left behind in the transition from the old to the new. Ventilation windows? History in the era of universal air conditioning in cars.

So you get all the music for ten bucks a month. The business of the century.

But on TV…

There’s an astronomical cable account.

However, there is hope, because of 5G broadband, or whatever comes after it, as 5G broadband has a very small range. Still, T-Mobile now sells home routers.

And then there’s the cable TV package, where you pay extra for what you don’t want. So people leave the television 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 demand.


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

And Netflix has ads.

Why do you expect people to pay for this?


That’s the big story in streaming, the rotation. People who sign up for a series and then unsubscribe. I charged my Apple TV+ subscription. It used to be free, but then I paid for a month and didn’t see anything. I heard about an Apple TV+ show, in fact, just yesterday, with good ratings on RottenTomatoes, but I’m not going to sign up again until there are several shows, because Apple is a scam. The lowest price with the least product. I’m out of it AND it’s not about money, it’s an INSULT! I’d sign up to watch a full show right away, but if you think I’m going to sign up for months to watch a show, you have another thought coming up!

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HBO Max has the support of its cable channel. All your numbers are confusing. Very few subscribe directly to HBO Max, 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 TV 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 the whole product for one low price.

Yes, give me a number. I’m in. Just give me everything. Just like with music streaming services. But television is balkanized and getting worse. And who is winning?

Certainly not the creators who are giving away their waste. TV streaming is based on purchases.

Broadcast companies are under the mistaken impression that we need their product. Which is obviously false. We can miss anything these days, because there are more products in the works, overwhelming deviations. And the dirty little secret is that TikTok is better than all the streaming services, it shows more creativity, more honesty, AND IT’S FREE!

But the old guys make fun of TikTok. They have never experienced it. Go down the rabbit hole, it’s addictive, rewarding and so much better than those copycat network shows produced by Netflix. Hasn’t the Internet already taught us that being everything to everyone is death? And HBO illustrated that the elite can have a very wide audience.

Which is what blew up 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 watch it for a while, but I’m not going to rave about Netflix itself. Because Netflix owes Wall Street, not me. It’s not the renegade, it’s the establishment!

Just think of the non-binge model. You go to the movies and you have to come back the next week to finish the movie, or eight weeks in a row.

No, you watch the movie in one go!

And series are the new movies, to the point where, aside from blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick,” most people don’t even bother going to the movies anymore. To see boring images that are too expensive?

All the action has been on television. It has been the medium of a creator. Driven by talent instead of suits.

But now that has changed, the strings in the bag have been tightened, the bottom line is key, and you have programmers not unlike Fred Silverman trying to figure out what will appeal to the most people… LIKE NETWORK TV!

One of the most rewarding things I do in my life is binge watch TV. 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, so was the fuss, 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 road to glory is always paved with premium products. We learned this in the heyday of the music business and in the heyday of 1970s movies. These efforts drive culture. They attract attention and grow as a result. When you put the bottom line first… Isn’t that how Warner Bros. Records grew in the first place? You wanted to be on the label not only with Neil Young, but also with Ry Cooder, you thought the executives cared about you. I used to think Reed Hastings cared about me, BUT NOT ANYMORE!

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It’s one thing to have an outright monopoly, but when people feel ripped off, they’re just waiting for a way around it, maybe without paying anything. This was the story of Napster and BitTorrent.

Spotify is done with piracy, getting rid of the binge model is incentivizing BitTorrent!

And kill the conversation.

There’s this illusion that we stand around the water cooler and discuss the next night’s shows when… WE DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO TO WORK TO BEGIN!

I’ve missed just about every recent HBO show, even “Succession,” because I can’t wait to drip from week to week and then I end up too late to catch up and it’s just a TV show anyway.

And I am the bleeding edge.

I remember all the nonsense in the music business two decades ago. They did these surveys asking kids how much the music was worth, quoted these high prices and stole anyway.

Entertainment is driven by the gut, not the spreadsheet. Regular income cannot be made. This is what’s killing Detroit, selling supercharged SUVs and getting wiped out by Tesla with electrics. Detroit felt like they were giving the people what they wanted, maybe, but they weren’t worried about what the people were going to want, the changes!

Talk to car buyers, all they can talk about is electricity. Saying they don’t plan to buy another gasoline car. Forget the used ones, focus on the middle class and above, who can afford new cars. If you think otherwise, you are delusional. There is no future in being stuck in the past, change happens.

Like the previous generations, they will be replaced by the new ones. Little kids don’t have televisions, let alone cable subscriptions. And they borrow the streaming logins from their parents. They don’t need Netflix, they don’t need ANY streaming service, so you need to make it more appealing to them, you need to give them a reason to pay attention. Which is always left field programming, like “Squid Game”. They are going to sign up for that, but not twelve months for twelve chapters, no way, it’s a bad business proposal.

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

It’s like the new Apple Watch Ultra… SIXTY HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE!

Yes, Apple is still talking about sleep tracking, but how can you do this if you need to charge the damn watch? But with sixty hours…

Makes the Apple Watch usable. I’m thinking about caving, I don’t even care if it’s eight hundred bucks, that’s what I WANT!

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

Don’t be fooled into thinking that people need your product, people need food and shelter, not much else, ultimately they can do without everything else except maybe sex.

You must make the customer paramount.

And the people who say they like the drips week after week 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 customization. Netflix wants to take away the rights I already have. Show me where that works in the world today, 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 the trends and the only people left were the late adopters, the veterans.

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

Today you innovate or die, serve the people or become extinct.

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

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