Just because someone yells, that doesn’t mean you should listen.

Netflix gained 610,000 subscribers in the U.S. last quarter. The company is just shy of its all time high, it’s now got 24.4 million subscribers, it had 24.59 million at its peak.

In other words, the only thing Reed Hastings did wrong was react to the outcry. He should have shut up and gone on his merry way. But America’s become a nation of apologists. If you do something one person doesn’t like you’ve got to crucify yourself, sacrifice your backbone to appease the rabble-rouser. When oftentimes if you just doubled-down on your message, if you chose to react at all, you’d have won.

Reed Hastings was trying to push his customers into the future, as opposed to the content industries who are all about holding users back in the past. And it turns out he’s right. 21.7 million people have Netflix’s streaming service, whereas only 11.2 million have the DVD by mail service.

And Netflix has no plans to advertise the DVD by mail business. It’s a losing proposition, the costs are high, people are burning out on discs and the movie and TV producers are putting so many restrictions on availability that the consumer is dazed and confused…and pissed. How many months do I have to wait after the DVD has been released to get it on Netflix? And exactly why? So you can preserve an old model while the statistics tell us streaming has won the war?

Don’t change course based on the vocal minority. They’ve got a voice online and the mainstream media loves a fight, hell, that’s what the Republican nomination process is all about. They don’t care who wins, just as long as it gets ratings.

Reed Hastings got in trouble for telling the truth. That people want streaming and DVD by mail costs too much and those who want to use it have to pay for it.

Americans abhor sacrifice. You can’t take my job! Even if it’s making buggy whips, I can’t go down a notch in lifestyle! Meanwhile, the public embraces a better system and the whole business changes.

If only there were a Reed Hastings in the music business. A visionary delivering what the public wants with enough cash to stand up and compete with the usual suspect content providers.

Steve Jobs made inroads, but track sales were never the way out of the economic mess.

The Spotify guys have come up with streaming for music and they’ve been excoriated. Explain to me again why people love Netflix and hate Spotify? Sure, Spotify’s free at first, but Netflix gives a month free too! That’s how you sell anything new and addictive in this world, via a free trial.

In other words, the entire Netflix brouhaha was a waste of time. There was no problem. Just a vocal minority pissed that they have to pay more for what costs more.

But the stock was hammered, plummeting from $300 to below $100.

But it’s regained 30% of its value since.

The public is not as backwards as you think. The public loves new technology. Hell, it’s hard to be a dummy and pirate. You triumph by giving people what they want before they know they want it. That’s what Netflix streaming was. Just a side benefit that turned into the main course.

The same thing is going to happen in music. MP3s are going to give way to streaming. The public, contrary to the prognosticators, will want it.

Don’t listen to the screaming meemees. They’re self-interested and ignorant. Jump into the future and wait for the people to come to you.

Comments are closed