Are you being throttled?

31 Jan

Inglourious BasterdsI recently added both Inglourious Basterds and In The Loop to my queue and saw that they were both ‘Long Waits’  for me. However,  two friends who I’d just persuaded to try out Netflix both reported having been quickly shipped these exact two titles as their very first titles from Netflix! It was enough to make me wonder if I was being singled out for this treatment or if the demand just totally outstripped supply for these titles.

To help answer this question, we’ve added a new visualization to movie title pages on FeedFliks. You’ll now be able to see the statues for any title bucketed by these wait times. For example , the #1 most in-demand title today Inglourious Basterds and it is Available Now for some 60% of everyone who has queued this title: this graph is right below the DVD box art on the FeedFliks page. On the other hand, the #2 most queued title, The Hurt Locker is Available Now for almost no one and in Long/Very Long Waits for over 40% of everyone. So, if you’ve been ‘Very Long Waited’ for The Hurt Locker, you are not alone. (500) Days of Summer is also in the most queued list but is Available Now for  more than 90% of those who want it. If you’ve been long-waited for this title, by all means, reach for that tin foil hat. After all, it’s not paranoia when they really are out to get you!


9 responses to “Are you being throttled?

  1. MaxHedrm

    January 31, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Do those friends use the same Netflix ‘depot’ as you? Often something will be in short supply at one, but not at others.

    I know that’s the case for me, but most of the time my Short/Long/Very Long Wait items aren’t because they are hugely popular new releases, but because they are low volume.

  2. MaxHedrm

    January 31, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Oh, and I wouldn’t be surprised that newbies get priority over longer subscribers. That’s a much more effective way to get people to stick around.

  3. MaxHedrm

    January 31, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Hmmm … there goes that theory (maybe), just tried it … Inglorious Basterds is available now for me … & I’m certainly not a newbie. ;^)

  4. Eric

    February 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I know throttling was a big thing a while back but now Netflix has incorporated throttling into their terms of use. Most people don’t read the terms of use but if you look closely they have carefully worded the terms so that it allows them to throttle users. Here is an excerpt…

    “In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we may utilize many different factors, including the number and type of DVDs you rent through our service, the membership plan you select, as well as other uses of our service by you. For example, if all other factors are the same, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service.”

    So if you are like me that has a three hour bus ride to/from work and can crank out DVD’s like a mad man then yes you are and will get throttled. It happens to me all the time. When I return 3 DVD’s they sometimes don’t go out the very next day and I will have a queue full of empty slots for new movies to be released for at least 24hrs before the next batch ships.

    I’ve come to live with it by now.

  5. FDR

    February 3, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I have been waiting 2 months to rent The Hangover from Netflix. Maybe they should just buy more copies.. .

  6. Scott

    February 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I have been waiting for the Hangover for two months as well.

  7. Drom John

    March 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Just put good movies in you queue as backups, and everybody wins. As I watch my step-daughter’s #1 Ingloriuos Basterds get skipped again by It’s a Boy Girl Thing. Hmm, maybe I don’t win.

    I really like the pie chart. I use Feedflix to check demand. Hmm, Inglorious Basterds is hard to get because of demand. Hmm, Outlaw Star is hard to get because of supply.

    No, it would be stupid for Netflix to get more copies of The Hangover. Outlaw Star OTOH ….

  8. Chase

    March 6, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Eric has it pretty dead-on. I’ve actually been told on the phone by a couple separate Netflix agents that people with LESSER plans get priority. That means that if you have a one at a time plan you will basically get the whatever is next on your queue. The odds of that happening decrease dramatically as the plans go up. I have a three at a time plan, and all though I have been relatively fortunate to get my requested titles as they’re released, most times it’s a shot in the dark. That’s why I’m such a big supporter of the Watch Instantly and I was an early adopter of the Roku box. Best investment and addition I’ve EVER made for home entertainment.

  9. RowdyReptile

    May 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I’m definitely throttled. It took me 12 weeks and a couple begging phone calls to finally get Hurt Locker (a couple months after this blog was posted) and some other titles from January/February are still very long wait. I’m glad to have the pie charts shown here.. they confirm that in each case I’m in the most-delayed group.

    I just joined Netflix at the beginning of this year and watched a ton of movies those first 2-3 months. I rarely kept a disc more than a day or two so I definitely got on their naughty list. I’ve slowed down the pace a bit since then, but I can’t get an answer as to how often that “fairness” algorithm updates or if I’ll always be on the least-preferred list.

    If Chase is right, I’d gladly downgrade to the 1-at-time plan if it meant a higher likelihood of getting the new releases I want.


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