Friday, July 15, 2011

Netflix Rant....Rantflix

I haven't blogged in quite some time, I don't know if I will start up again but I need to rant about something and therefore as of now...I am back. Just not sure if after this...

See what I did there?

Netflix is a great brand and is smart about adapting their business model to not only keep up with technological trends but stay ahead of the curve (hence Netflix being alive while BlockBuster and Hollywood Video are dying a quick, painful death). It was announced a few days ago that Netflix will be changing their price model. Separate DVD and streaming only plans will now be available (but both can be purchased at the same time), and the prices will go up a few dollars. For example, I currently subscribe to receive unlimited DVDs (2 checked out at a time) and unlimited streaming, and it costs me about $15 per month. With the updated plan, it will cost me about $19 a month ($11 for the DVDs and $8 for unlimited streaming).

I'm not going to be ridiculous and say I am happy that the price went up, but I do get it, and I am frustrated with the thousands upon thousands of people that do not seem to get all.

Google (verb form) "netflix prices" and look at the comment section of the many articles that have been written on this topic (this Huff Post article  for example).

You will find thousands upon thousands of comments and tons of them are negative, and a good chunk of those negative comments are obnoxiously negative (yes I did some primary research and ran a sample set of comments past the offical United States "Obnoxious" Judge Panel (USOJP) and they ruled that a good chunk of the comments were in fact...obnoxious). Fortunately, now that this story is a few days old there are more people such as myself coming out to defend Netflix. So you will find more positive comments now compared to a few days ago...but that's besides the point.

There are comments that say things like "How can you raise your prices and not add more content?", "I better be able to stream all of your content now", "cuss words, bla bla, I hate you Netflix" etc.

The thing that really steams my clams, chaps my ass, grinds my gears, stings my stuff, insert other cliches here is that a large populace exists who expects to be able to stream every movie and every TV show in existence, and do so for damn near no money.

Believe it or not, it costs Netflix money to use up all the bandwidth it takes to stream TV/movies. In fact, it costs them a ton of money, and believe it or not (yes I just used that term twice in the same paragraph) bandwidth is not easy to slang around like fatty joints at a Phish concert. Read this post from Mark Cuban for more explanation from a pretty smart dude:

Mark Cuban post about net neutrality and bandwidth and what not.

And bandwidth is not the only factor. Netflix has to pay to gain the right to stream their content over the Internet. And they have to pay separate (more...a lot more) money to own the right to stream content, even if they already have the rights to rent out that same content DVD form.

We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars here. Despite this, Netflix has steadily been adding more streaming content over the past few years. They have made deals with Starz, Showtime, NBC, etc. Just about every month stories come out about Netflix getting the rights to new content, making new deals... basically straight up balling in the proverbial streaming world.

So settle down because they are working on it. To expect them to allow all of their content to be streamed all at once now that they increased their prices is preposterous. It is preposterous from a cost standpoint as well as a bandwidth standpoint (which happen to overlap).

So please, I beg of you...before you poop or pee in your pants over your Netflix bill rising by a few bucks, or before you start your own rant about how pissed off you are at them...take a deep breath and try to understand that those CSI: Eau Claire re-runs you love to stream on your computer do not just appear there magically. There is a lot that goes into it and it costs a lot of money.

This post was ranty...I know. Sorry.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

For more rants, jokes that are sometimes funny, MN Twins related content, shared videos, advertising stuff and general tom foolery please feel free to follow me on Twitter...or don't:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's not a PUMAAA

It has been quite a while since I wrote a blog post. I am not going to make up any crap about being busy studying for the LSAT or that my internet was down because Comcast is run by a bunch of low functioning chimpanzees (this is probably an insult to even low functioning chmpanzees...sorry). No, I am not going to do that.

What has really been going on? I have been somewhat lazy and gotten complacent ever since I may or may not have passed a certain revenue threshold that may or may not have resulted in me receiving some financial considerations from a certain company via this blog AND that revenue stream may or may not have been reset causing me to go into a state of blogging hibernation.

With that said, I am back and back for the right reasons this time around. And after admitting to being lazy, I am going to get back into the swing of things with what I find to be the easiest kind of advertising post there is. Talking about a video/ad that I think is either good or bad.

The following is a video produced by PUMA. I have always thought that PUMA does a good job of capturing a little bit of that what so many brands try so hard to do but fail...being "cool".

Watch this video and then see my thoughts below. Or watch this video and then move on to to check out Brett Favre's dong. Either way, just watch's cool (see what I did there?).

What I think is so genius about this video is very simple. It combines humor with emotion.

We all love funny videos and funny commercials, but often times humor ads are forgotten quicker than we realize. This video isn't necessarily laugh out loud funny, but it certainly makes you smile and/or chuckle because it makes you think back to times you have had with your buddies.

I was going to relate this to college, but honestly I think the video hits home with anyone that has ever been to a bar or bowling alley or friend's basement (so hopefully everyone ever...). It may make you think back to a hilarious time five years ago when you stole the pool balls from a random house party you were at because you lost to some Ahole wearing a pink shirt (and perhaps you had consumed a few bowls of loud mouth soup...either way). Or it may make you think back to just last weekend when you hit three shots in a row to send a game of beer pong to overtime.

Regardless, I think PUMA does a great job here of associating itself with what many people consider to be some of the most fun times they ever had and will continue to have.

And to that I say PUMA...well played.

One love, one heart.

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The TV Predicament

This post was inspired by a conversation I recently had with my good friend "The Hittman". We were talking about TV shows we have watched and shows we plan to watch in the future, and I posed this question.

Is it more enjoyable to go back and watch a TV series that has already concluded with the ability to watch the show in its entirety at whatever pace you want? Or is it more enjoyable to watch that same show once a week as it airs on TV so that you can be a part of the conversations that go on by the water cooler, on Twitter, etc. after big events and eventually the series finale?

I recently finished the series, The Wire and it was absolutely one of the best shows I have ever seen. But after I watched the series finale, and I didn't know what to do with myself because I wanted to discuss the conclusions and characters with other people (I may or may not have done something really nerdy and gone back and listened to a podcast between two people that had just seen the series finale of The Wire when it actually happened...don't judge me).

Then I started thinking about LOST. I watched the final two seasons of LOST week to week as they aired on ABC. If you watch LOST you probably know that one episode a week is just not enough...having to stop after just one episode is like taking a bite of a delicious Chipotle burrito and then having to save it in the fridge until next Tuesday at 8:00PM.

Fortunately I watched the first 4 seasons of LOST via DVDs which got me thinking. Was that week of getting to discuss the series finale and not having to worry about the ending being spoiled worth the agony of not getting to rip through the show in the same fashion that I did in seasons 1 through 4? Honestly, I haven't decided yet. I think I may have stumbled upon the perfect way to watch a popular TV series. Wait until it is announced that there is an end date to the show, then start watching it and catch up with a season or so to go in the series. Obviously this is easier said than done and to be honest, pretty lame to put this much thought into how to watch a TV show...but whatever, I want credit for this genius idea.

This mental debate also led me to another conundrum.

As technology advances there are more and more ways to watch TV shows on demand (DVR, HBO on demand, cable on demand, netflix, HULU, etc.). But at the same time the technologies for discussing TV shows and having shows spoiled for you are also increasing at a similar rate (Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, texting, blogs...hate to break it to you but SPOILER ALERT...Ross and Rachel got back together). So as it gets easier to watch a show whenever you want it is also becoming necessary to watch a show as soon after it airs as possible in order to avoid any chance of becoming the victim of a spoiler.

Quite the Catch 22.

I don't normally ask (beg...whatever) for comments but I am very curious if anyone else cares or has thought about this topic. So please leave your comments for I would love to hear your take.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Post Has Turned to Diamonds

I just want to jump on the Old Spice bandwagon and agree with pretty much everyone else that the Twitter, YouTube video promotion they did this week was amazing. If you haven't heard, Old Spice took the main character from these ads...

And had him answer questions in short YouTube videos such as this...

The turn around was really fast, they did over 300 videos in two days. Needless to say it has been quite popular around the interwebs. My take is this...

When looking back, many of the first websites in the mid 1990's were awful. Then sites like Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, etc. began to emerge and pave the way with groundbreaking ideas for how to utilize the internet.

Sometimes we forget that Twitter and iPhone apps and other social media outlets are in their beginning stages. We will probably look back and think a lot of the first apps and twitter promotions were stupid. But Old Spice really made some headway this week in how to use Twitter and YouTube for the power they have. I guarantee you this is only the to that I say look out and well done Old Spice. I'm on a horse.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson

Thursday, June 17, 2010


For a long time there was an understanding in place that hard alcohol companies would not advertise on TV. If you haven't noticed, that trend has changed quite a bit in the past 5 years or so. Today the TV airwaves are littered with ads for tequila (ish), Whiskey, Rum, you name it.

I'm sure there are plenty of people that claim they can taste the difference between Smirnoff and Absolut, but lets be mature here...booze, for the most part, tastes the same. Therefore, there is great opportunity for advertisers to be the main point of differentiation between the vast array of booze brands. A lot of companies are struggling with this.

The following is a description of an ad for hard alcohol, can you tell me which brand?

A semi crowded room, it's kind of dark, there are a lot of "attractive people", some people are dancing, some people are laughing, there are guys playing cards, some of the guys have carefully crafted scruff on their face, the girls are not dressed for church, a guy with a deep, throaty voice is reading something about having a good time or the olden days when "men were men", you find yourself wondering if parties/gatherings like this actually exist.

That's right, there are a lot of ads like this and they do a terrible job of differentiating their brand from the other brands that are doing the exact same thing.

I really have no problem with Kettle One as a brand or product (I actually think their bottle is pretty sweet) but if you replaced the Kettle One brand in this spot with Belvedere, Grey Goose, Stoli, etc. would you even notice?

Or you can replace the throaty sounding dude with some weird music...

As long as these companies are going to continue this trend of advertising on TV and taking whatever lumps that come with it from the powers that be/other groups that might get upset over hard alcohol being advertised on TV (this is a whole other topic, personally as long as they don't advertise during Blues Clues, it doesn't really bother me) they might as well do a good job.

This is an example of a brand that understands its roots and the platform it is built on. If you replaced the brand's name in this ad, it would no longer all...some of these other companies could learn a thing or two from Jameson.

Booze is all about image and once people of age can afford to look up from the shelves with the Karkovs and Admiral Nelsons of the world there lies a great opportunity to build brands that are "cool" or "retro" or "classic" or "modern" or whatever else is the differentiating trait for why someone tries or chooses one Whiskey over another. Because I think we know that for the most part a lot of this stuff tastes pretty similar, but that doesn't mean that they are perceived the same way or that they make us feel the same way (not in a literal drunk way but in an emotional I feel cool or I feel happy or I feel as if I'm balling like Jay Z while I sip on this Crystal kind of way).

People are passionate about strong brands and often times it goes well beyond the actual functionality of the product...booze is no different (just ask me if I've ever gone sailing with the Captain before...yea I capitalized it).

One love, one heart.

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson