Throttle Me, I Throttle You

Uh-oh. Netflix throttling is in the news this week, and I’m steamed about the tactic. I am so mad that service cancellation is one option. More likely, I will, eh, throttle down my number of rentals.

Throttling is a strategy whereby heavy users are penalized for using the service. Netflix reasons it loses money on these customers, so they get lower shipping priority. 

I can somewhat sympathize with Netflix’s position. The company relies on modest rental activity. Big consumers turn out to be big money losers. How many movies can one person or family conceivably watch? Maybe a lot. Assuming a family of, say, four watches just three movies a week—one for each kid and another for the two adults—that’s 12 movies a month. I’d bet 20 or more movies would be more likely.

But in the end, I have almost no sympathy for Netflix’s position. These heavy consumers use the service the way it’s designed.

My service throttling is almost certain—push back from seven rentals a month to perhaps two, or one. Why should I pay for more rentals, if shipment is delayed? I shouldn’t. Too bad for Netflix. I’ve rented since February 1999, which makes me pretty much a charter customer. I am pondering Blockbuster and considering other options, too.