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Old 01-10-2007, 03:15 AM  
Silock Silock is offline
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Insider look @ Netflix

For those that are curious about the behind the scenes @ Netflix, here is a quick story I found on the New Yorker Online.




MOVING PICTURES
TEAR, SLAP, CLACK
Issue of 2006-08-28
Posted 2006-08-21


Shortly before sunrise on a summer Tuesday, a truck left a warehouse in Rockville, Maryland. It travelled a mile to a post office. The driver backed up to a loading dock, where fifteen mail carts awaited him. The carts were stacked with boxes of those ubiquitous red pre-paid envelopes, containing DVDs addressed to Netflix. Before 1998, the only option for renting videos was a local store with a few thousand titles. Today, Netflix, as a delivery system, is almost as ingrained as the mail itself. Five million subscribers select movies online, watch them at home, send them back, and pay monthly fees: $17.99 a month for the most popular plan (three at a time, at home or in transit).

By the time the truck is back at the warehouse—one of forty-one similar hubs around the country—and has been unloaded, some forty employees (“associates,” in Netflix parlance) are ready for work. The majority are women who were born in Africa and in Asia. At 6:30 A.M., they sit down in ergonomic chairs and begin the process known as “rental return.” An associate tears open an envelope that contains a sleeve enclosing a disk, tosses the empty envelope into a recycling bin, removes the DVD from its sleeve, checks the title on the DVD (when “Black Dog” arrives in a sleeve for “The Triangle,” the mismatched sleeve is discarded and “Black Dog” is re-sleeved), checks the condition of the sleeve (those with coffee stains or other evidence of having been used as coasters will also be replaced), checks the condition of the DVD (for scratches and cracks), and extracts customer notes (“THROW THIS DAMN DISK AWAY. IT DOES NOT WORK AFTER EPISODE 2, CHAPTER 4!”). Fingers flying and heads swivelling, the women each open between four hundred and fifty and eleven hundred and fifty returned rentals an hour.

Tuesday is the busiest day of the week at Netflix—people tend to watch DVDs on the weekend and mail them back on Mondays—but by 11 A.M. the day’s incoming envelopes have been processed and the associates have an hour for lunch. Netflix hires associates from temp agencies, starting at nine dollars an hour. Those who can maintain a fast and accurate pace become permanent employees after three months. Benefits include a free DVD player and a Netflix subscription. “If I see a title often, I’ll take a chance on it,” a slender woman from Hong Kong said. She enjoyed the first two seasons of “Entourage” this way.

At noon, the “stuffing” process gets under way. An associate grabs a sleeved outbound disk with one hand; inserts it into an electronically addressed envelope with the other; flips the envelope closed; rips off a peel over a sticker strip; and presses the envelope shut. Stuffing styles vary. One associate’s hands move so quickly that she seems to be a fan operating at highest speed. She is among the fastest workers, with a stuffing rate of about a thousand per hour. In fifty-seven seconds, she stuffed “Oyster Farmer,” “Elizabethtown,” “Where the Buffalo Roam,” two copies of “Brokeback Mountain,” “Hill Street Blues: Season 2: Disc 6,” “Picture Perfect,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” two copies of “Firewall,” “The Ice Harvest,” “Elfen Lied: Volume 1: Vector One,” “Best Motoring: Rotary Reborn,” two copies of “16 Blocks,” “Rumor Has It,” “24: Season 3: Disc 2,” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” Reed Hastings, the C.E.O. of Netflix, would not be hired as an associate. His stuffing rate is three hundred and sixty per hour.

Stuffed Netflix envelopes are sealed on two sides and fed into a tabber, a machine that slaps tabs on a third side at the rate of six thousand an hour. The next step for the envelopes is one of the hub’s four Zip Code sorters. The envelopes zoom down vertical conveyor belts and exit at their Zip Code destinations along the belt with loud clacks.

Associates work forty hours a week. By 5:30 P.M., most had completed their work. Tabbers still slapped and envelopes still clacked into destination slots for two more hours. After the warehouse closes, a truck returns to the post office, which accepts first-class pre-sorted mail for next-day delivery until 8 P.M. A hundred and twenty-six thousand DVDs came out of the post office in the morning, a hundred and twenty-six thousand went back that evening. Netflix is one of the ten largest users of first-class mail in America.

Sometime on Wednesday, a Netflix subscriber in Washington, D.C., or St. Michaels, Maryland, or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, would be able to cut the tab on a red envelope, open it along one edge, and extract “Y Tu Mamá También” (five and a half per cent of rentals are foreign films), or “Martha’s Baking Favorites” (how-to videos are just shy of two per cent of the Netflix catalogue), or “Syriana” (that week’s most rented title).

— Susan Sheehan
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:48 AM   #2
Kerberos Kerberos is offline
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60 minutes had an episode a while back that showed how F***ing HUGE "NetFlix" was and averaging something like $50 million a month in profits or something unreal like that.

Someone had a great idea and turned it into a gold mine. Blockbuster and alike are now trying to do the same things cause they are losing ground FAST.

.
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxrider
60 minutes had an episode a while back that showed how F***ing HUGE "NetFlix" was and averaging something like $50 million a month in profits or something unreal like that.

Someone had a great idea and turned it into a gold mine. Blockbuster and alike are now trying to do the same things cause they are losing ground FAST.

.
I saw a blockbuster store the other day that had closed down completely. It used to be that they were putting the little guys out of business. Now they are getting run out. Kind of ironic.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:10 AM   #4
chagrin chagrin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cochise
I saw a blockbuster store the other day that had closed down completely. It used to be that they were putting the little guys out of business. Now they are getting run out. Kind of ironic.

Kind of hilarious, heh
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:33 AM   #5
oaklandhater oaklandhater is offline
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I dont understand whats so great about netflix. Ive had nothing but problems with em.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:34 AM   #6
Kerberos Kerberos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silock
Netflix hires associates from temp agencies, starting at nine dollars an hour. Those who can maintain a fast and accurate pace become permanent employees after three months. Benefits include a free DVD player and a Netflix subscription. “If I see a title often, I’ll take a chance on it,” a slender woman from Hong Kong said. She enjoyed the first two seasons of “Entourage” this way.

The guy that is C.O.O. should get a fuggin Bonus Cash award for keeping the cost of operation to almost nothing and maximizing profits while watching the competition scramble like rats on a sinking ship.

.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:37 AM   #7
oaklandhater oaklandhater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxrider
The guy that is C.O.O. should get a fuggin Bonus Cash award for keeping the cost of operation to almost nothing and maximizing profits while watching the competition scramble like rats on a sinking ship.

.
Yep nothing like slowing down the rate ppl get there movies.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:38 AM   #8
Kerberos Kerberos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklandhater
I dont understand whats so great about netflix. Ive had nothing but problems with em.
Personally I don't use'em but I know a lot of people that do. Thier #'s grow in double digits every quarter i'm guessing.

Gowth like this sometimes makes your service and customer service suffer or suck.

If everyone that used them had nothing but problems I am guessing they wouldn't be the MONSTER they are.

.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:49 AM   #9
oaklandhater oaklandhater is offline
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It might be that I started useing em right when they started out when I use to put 2 movies in the mailbox in the morning before I went to work,

And bye the time I got home I would have 2 new movies to watch.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:01 AM   #10
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I did netflix about 5/6 years ago for about 6 months...it was ok. I liked their suggestion feature. I got the 6 months free when I bought about 400 bucks in monster cables.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:05 AM   #11
Silock Silock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaklandhater
I dont understand whats so great about netflix. Ive had nothing but problems with em.
That's odd. I've used them basically since they started offering their service and have never had any trouble whatsoever with them.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:08 AM   #12
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I think they got sued for what oaklandhater is talking about. They would start out very fast, and then eventually they would slow down how fast they would ship you movies.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by KCTitus
I got the 6 months free when I bought about 400 bucks in monster cables.
400 bucks in monster cables? Man, they must have seen you coming from a mile away.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:14 AM   #14
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400 bucks in monster cables? Man, they must have seen you coming from a mile away.
Forgive me, I was a cable n00b at the time...
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saulbadguy
I think they got sued for what oaklandhater is talking about. They would start out very fast, and then eventually they would slow down how fast they would ship you movies.
Really? When did that happen?

I've always gotten my movies within 2-3 days of returning them.
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