Netflix Subscribers Frustrated by Blu-ray Shortage, Light Users Move to Front of the Line


Some Neflix subscribers are finding that their pricey Blu-ray player has been sitting around with nothing to do. That's because Netflix doesn't have enough Blu-ray titles to go around, particularly when it comes to hot new releases. It's not uncommon for a movie to sit in a subscriber's queue for a month or more with an expected availability listed as "Long Wait." Bummer.

Cnet talked to Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesperson, about the problem, who said part of it has to do with studios not providing enough Blu-ray copies of new releases that the company would like get. But it isn't always the fault of the studios.

"There is an expense to that," Swasey said. "These things cost money. We deploy money where we think it's going to be most efficient to keep subscribers and investors happy. It's always check and balances."

Not all subscribers can be happy hearing Swasey lay the blame on the cost, considering that Netflix started adding a $1 surcharge for Blu-ray renters back in October. Jessie Teitz, Neflix's VP of marketing, said the surcharge was to cover the "significant cost difference" between Blu-ray and standard DVDs, which brings up another tidbit that active subscribers can't be happy about. When there aren't enough copies to go around, users who rent less frequently jump to the front of the line.

"What we're doing is giving new releases to the person who hasn't rented as much," he said. "We've been doing this for a couple of years and fully disclose this in our terms of agreement. If we have a shortage of titles we do what we think is equitable and give the title to the person who hasn't rented as much or who hasn't gotten as much enjoyment from the service."

In short, the $1 surcharge that all Blu-ray renters pay is going towards not enough Blu-ray copies, which are then doled out to infrequent renters.

Hit the jump and tell us whether you agree or disagree with how Netflix is handling Blu-ray movies.

Image Credit: Josh Lowensohn via Cnet

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