I, like many Canadians, am frustrated with my Netflix experience.  I so want internet streaming media to my non-cable TV.

But alas,  aside from a good selection of documentaries, there is a lot of dated movies, questionable rating systems, stuttering issues with movies that can’t receive, and even one movie with no sound.

I suspected many Canadian customers are also ‘early adopter’ techie types (or at the very least – gamers) and perhaps vocal about their experiences.

So I decided to check out what kind of conversation is taking place for Netflix in Canada.   If you review past comments, you will notice the f-word and suck.  Wow.. that’s powerful.   Now – to be fair to Netflix, it takes a long time to dig into negative conversations, time I haven’t spent beyond a glance.  There is some misattribution, some of the issues appear to do with Microsoft Xbox setup challenges and not Netflix, but many ‘suck’ comments are related to Netflix, versus films watched.

If you check out Netflix Canada’s facebook page, with 6700+ likes,  fan comments on the wall seem disabled and discussion boards are free of Netflix contributions.   The wall itself broadcasts announcements and pretends to engage.

Twitter is misleading.  Netflix has been mentioned over many times in Twitter, in the last six months, in Canada, but has only tweeted 219 times.  There is another address @netflixhelps which has been responding to some @netflix_CA tweets but not all.  It feels like a missed opportunity.

What is interesting is that I see a number of Canadians asking Netflix to improve, like a coach at the side of the game.  They want Netflix to succeed in Canada.  Perhaps there is still a window to win back frustrated clients?    

oh, Netflix. I want so badly to give you my business, but you just won’t let me. 

@Netflix Please stop sucking!

Contrast this to Netflix’s statements, available publicly on Linkedin:

In Q3 2010, Netflix began international expansion with the launch of a streaming-only Netflix service in Canada. Early Canadian results are encouraging, and Netflix is tracking to be profitable in Canada late in 2011. If we continue to gain confidence in a large return on our Canadian investment, and we have confidence in the financial return on further geographic expansion, then we will look to grow beyond the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2011. Our overarching objectives are to continue to delight our American and Canadian members, grow our member base in the U.S. and Canada and to do the same around the world.  [quoted from a Linkedin Description of the Director of Global Acquisition Project Management position, Aug. 2011] 

 It can’t be helpful to launch a questionable service, catch trial, but then suffer churn and angry ex-customers.  

I too want Netflix to succeed in Canada, very much so.   At bare minimum, just engage!  Tell your story, your constraints and give hope.  Start a blog, become authentic, hire a Canadian to manage expansion.   I don’t doubt that there are significant barriers entering this market that are likely responsible for selection and other issues – and yet, there is a tremendous opportunity for engagement.  This should be such an exciting time.

What are you thoughts?  How does a company be open about market entry issues in this age of social web?

Author’s note: I’ve altered this post a little since publishing within last 24 hours.  My intent is not to slam a promising entry (I want Netflix to succeed), but to offer publicly available information and suggest investment in engaging with Canadians.

6 thoughts on “Netflix Canada – friend to the four letter word

  1. The lack of good content on the Canadian site is easily resolved by subscribing to a VPN service that puts your visible IP address in the the good old USA. I live in Ontario, and I have Netflix USA, Hulu, Comedy Central and EpixHD. The VPN service costs about 75 dollars for twelve months, and also hides Peer to Peer traffic from Rogers, making my Torrent downloads up to 20 times faster! Screw the CRTC, screw Rogers, screw Bell. I’m gonna watch and download what I want to!

  2. I’ve only been w/ Netflix for two weeks, so feel free to discount my opinion. I think it’s unreasonable to criticize Netflix for their selection. The blame for this lies with the CRTC and the restrictive copyright laws that exist in Canada, vs in the US. I’d put off signing up in hopes that the selection would drastically improve. It hasn’t, but my experience with a rent-by-mail-dvd service pushed me to explore this option.

    I have had a few issues w/ streaming (in total we’ve watched 15 hours of programming), and one case where episodes were mislabelled and hence out of order. On both of these occasions I tried to communicate w/ Netflix via twitter and their online help form and have received ZERO response. This is disheartening.

    I agree with your suggestion that Netflix increase the way it communicates with Canadians.

    I’m intrigued by the suggestion made by “Rogers Wants To Know LOL.” Is this legal? And can you recommend a reliable VPN service?

    1. Thank you Nan –
      I agree that selection is a tough criticism for a company facing challenges with the CRTC. Hopefully, Netflix does not give up in the wake of this negotiation (I want them to succeed!). Beyond limited recent movies, we have been happy with the documentaries, children movies and some TV movies. I do wish that I could understand more about Netflix’s journey from them socially. But how much does a business share? Its a sensitive decision but likely one that requires more social engagement.

      You did find the perfect word for the lack of engagement – disheartening.

      As for the earlier comment, I won’t be publishing the how to on illegal access – however much I appreciate the comments!

  3. Netflix better start stepping it up and adding better movie content if they want to keep those million customers. They will occasionally add a good movie but mostly you get Old movies, B movies, A lot of Foreign language movies, Documentaries and Children shows. Then they say they have added content, something that most people would not normally watch anyway. Better movies on Cable Channels. They better change there content if they want to keep their customers and gain more customers in Canada.

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