A collective shudder likely went up the spines of Netflix and Gamefly
customers around the nation when they heard the U.S. Postal Service is
looking to eliminate Saturday delivery
Both services — Netflix
for DVDs of movies and television shows, Gamefly
for video games — rely on snail mail to get their goods into customers'
hands. Other mail order businesses, such as Amazon or eBay don't rely
solely on the post office for delivery and in most cases shipping costs
fall to the customer, so if someone wants more expensive overnight
delivery, they can pay for it.
But with Netflix and Gamefly, the
customers can borrow, to a degree, as many DVDs or games as they want
in a month for the same fee. If Charlie Jones received 2012 in
Wednesday's delivery, watched it right away and dropped in the mail
that same day, it would be technically possible to receive another DVD
to replace it in just a couple of days. So neither company is likely to
be willing to pay FedEx or UPS more to deliver videos or games on
weekends; the customer's gonna just have to wait until Monday.One website
went so far as to suggest that maybe Netflix should just buy the postal
service and enact sweeping changes, saving money and keeping their
But more and more customers are streaming
video from Netflix, cutting out the DVDs entirely. Besides through
computers, Netflix subscribers can purchase special receivers or use
their video game consoles to stream the video directly to their
television sets. There's no reason why this couldn't happen with video
games. In fact, the Xbox 360
already allows players to purchase videos by downloading them; why not enable game rentals this way?
recently came to an agreement with Warner Brothers to wait 28 days
before allowing subscribers to borrow the studio's new releases, this
in hopes of getting more people to purchase the DVDs. In return, Warner
allowed Netflix access to a much larger portion of its catalog for
streaming. Netflix is only getting more videos in streaming mode, and
this should accelerate as more customers demand it.
loss of Saturday delivery could hurt Netflix and Gamefly today, in the
long run it might not make one whit of difference.