Video Rental Steven Kippel on 10 Feb 2013
How the new USPS delivery schedule affects your Netflix queue
Over the previous week there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the United States Postal Service changing their delivery schedule to exclude Saturday delivery for letters. Some people think we live in a post-letter world and can eliminate the mail service altogether, while others don’t care so much if they receive one less day of junk mail per week. But there’s a surprising lack of talk about what it means to me; specifically how it affects my Netflix DVD queue.
I understand that a lot of people just stream movies now, but as I’ve discussed before this isn’t a solution for all of us. I particularly like hard to come by movies and TV programs which Netflix carries in DVD format that nobody streams. Of course the main-stream tech media just assumes we all torrent whatever we want so the disc idea is completely dead, I’m not one of those people who steals – yes, it is stealing and all justifications for it are overwrought and wrong – and I don’t encourage you to do so either, so I have a one disc at a time subscription which allows me to catch up on shows like Homocide: Life On The Streets.
I did a bit of the numbers concerning the best-case scenario for Netflix DVD queue; that is I imagined the DVD is watched the night it is received and mailed out the following day. This means the first movie goes back to Netflix on Monday and you receive your next disc on Wednesday. That disc goes out Thursday and your next disc comes back on Saturday. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Assuming the first week begins with a disc at home, that is nine DVDs in four weeks with the current mail delivery schedule; 105 total discs for a year extrapolated to 52 weeks.
When the USPS moves to their new delivery schedule that Saturday disc won’t arrive until the following Monday. This means in the same four week period only seven discs would be in the home: the first movie goes back to Netflix on Monday and you receive your next disc on Wednesday. That disc goes out Thursday and your next disc comes back on Monday. That disc goes out on Tuesday and the next comes in on Thursday. Out on Friday, in on Tuesday. Out Wednesday, in Friday. Repeat. (This is a three week cycle.) Losing Saturday delivery reduces the figure to approximately 88 total discs for a year.
Netflix one at a time DVD service costs $7.99 per month, or $95.88 per year; make that $0.91 per DVD. Eliminating Saturday delivery can increase that per disc cost to $1.09; an $0.18 increase per disc.
Maybe that’s good for Netflix as they’re using less postage, but it certainly isn’t good for the consumer.