Inspired by this post over at Hacking Netflix, I decided to look at my savings to date as a Netflix customer.
Total number of movies rented in about 4 years (50 months): 262
Average number of movies per month: 5.24
Cost in Netflix member fees (4-out program): $1,083.69
Average cost per month: $21.67 (including tax*)
Average cost per rental: $4.14
Estimated cost to rent a DVD at local video stores: $4.50 (includes avg. $0.50 late fee per movie, with late-fee estimated at 1/2 of original rental price**)
Savings per rental: $0.36 (not including gas)
Total savings over 4 years (50 months) vs. renting at a video store: $95.31 (262 x $0.36)
Real cost of Netflix after savings: $947.87 or $18.96 per month.
1) I used a cost of $4.50, assuming that I would be returning a good deal of movies late (as I know I did, before I started using Netflix). Based on the cost of late fees, my estimate is probably low. Hacking Netflix used a straight $4.00. As of today, I would still show a loss against the rental store today, because...
2) I kept my Netflix account open for the better part of a year without turning around any movies. I just let 4 of them sit in a corner. I did this because my roommate at the time had gotten the movie channels, so I didn't need Netflix. But I knew that they were scaling back to their 3-out-at-a-time system and if I cancelled my account I'd be relegated to 3 when I returned. Now that I have a new roommate and am back to watching Netflix, I still have my 4-out plan at the price of the 3-out plan. So with each movie I watch, my savings continue to close the gap that my open-year made. I estimate that before I reach 300 movies, I should be seeing significant savings, getting my average monthly cost after savings down to around $15 (even against a $4.00 rental store estimate).
3) If I were to do the calculations by subtracting out 12 months of payments totaling $260.04 (12 x 21.67), I would get a total cost of $823.65, which is a per-movie of $3.14, a savings against a rental store estimate of $4.00 of $0.86. A total savings against the rental store of $225.32 bringing my actual cost after savings to $858.37.
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