Programming drops as Netflix hikes fees

Programming drops as Netflix hikes fees

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Programming drops as Netflix hikes fees

Netflix raised fees, again. But if they want to keep me as a loyal subscriber, they need to be loyal to me and produce some kickass programing. Dropping Kevin Spacey from “House of Cards” is a major blow, and the garbage they are offering the wake of another favorite, “Narcos,” isn’t doing it. Money trumps loyalty.

By Ray Hanania

Netflix programming has taken a major hit with the removal of Kevin Spacey from their cornerstone original content, “House of Cards.”

Spacey is accused of sexually harassing women and Netflix and “House of Cards” producers moved quickly to punish him. Unfortunately, Kevin Spacey made Netflix. His role on “House of Cards” drove the increasing ratings and made the show required watching.

Netflix also offered another great show, “Narcos,” the story of drug kingpin and Colombian mass murderer Pablo Escobar. Narcos lasted two seasons but was followed up by a placeholder, a Spanish-language English sub-title show, “Surviving Escobar,” based on Escobar’s hitman “Popeye” which is difficult to watch and only mildly entertaining.

Kevin Spacey presents his new movie Margin Cal...

Kevin Spacey presents his new movie Margin Call at the Berlin Film Festival 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But now that “House of Cards” is tumbling, with Spacey’s absence, and Narcos is snuffed out like bad reefer, and without any major promising programs on the horizon, the alternative streaming media company will soon discover that loyalty is fleeting.

I like Netflix, because I liked “Narcos” and “House of Cards.” There is very little else to watch on the system.

They partnered with Xfinity/Comcast, which causes all kinds of connections problems for me. But I don’t think Netflix really cares. They’re making money and they’re doing great. I access Netflix using Apple TV. It’s easy and dependable. It always works, unlike with Xfinity/Comcast.

Most Netflix users have remained loyal to Netflix over the years believing they would remain affordable. But, as Netflix increases in popularity, the idealism of treating consumers fairly goes out the window. It does with every major corporation that suddenly finds itself on the frontlines of CNBC’s top programs, “The Squawk Box” and “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer.

Over the years, Netflix has raised prices, dramatically, but confusingly.

Netflix has again raised the monthly price of its most popular streaming plan in the U.S., with the two-stream HD tier now $10.99 per month for new subscribers — while existing customers will be moved to the new rate over the next several months. That’s up $1 per month from the previous $9.99 monthly fee. And that’s up from the original $7.99 a month subscription that drew me to Netflix several years ago.

Now, I’m wondering why I should stay.

Here’s the email from Netflix announcing another increase int heir subscription:

More of what you like
Hi Ray,
The cost of your Netflix membership will increase to $10.99 on Friday, January 5th 2018. Why? So we can add more of what you like to watch. Awesome entertainment built around you is what we’re all about. We’ve enhanced our features so you can download your favorites and watch without wifi, too.
Here’s to watching what you want, when you want, on any device you want.
We’re here to help if you need it. Visit the Help Center for more info or contact us.
If you do not wish to continue your membership, as always you can cancel any time at netflix.com/cancel.
–The Netflix Team

You used to care about “more of what I like” but that’s not the case.

Your programming is only so-so. You need to do more. This season could be my last relationship with you if you don’t deliver.

I want great original content, and so far you have come close. But I just don’t have the confidence that you can keep it up.

I also subscribe to Hulu, a decent system that lacks intuitive, user-friendly menus. They have several original shows I love, including “Casual” and “Shut Eye,” but the truth is I have no idea when the new seasons will start and when I try to check out the “Episode” section, I get no clue. They make it look like I haven’t seen episodes that I have already watched.

And while I love to binge and re-binge, it has to be with great shows.

Right now, Amazon Prime is pushing hard to win over my loyalty, and that will be at a cost of dropping Netflix, now that I have no reason to watch “House of Cards.”

That could change, but as the prices go up, I have to weigh the value of my hard work against the value of the programs I am paying for. And the way I see it today, the value of the programs I am paying for today isn’t very good.

There’s nothing to watch on Netflix today, and I am concerned that they won’t come through with anything better.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall reporter. His columns appear in dozens of Chicagoland community newspapers and in newspapers in the Middle East. Email him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania