Netflix, GreenCine, & Blockbuster Online: 
A Comparison of Customer Satisfaction


Written: 1/15/07

Many sections remain the same in this update since last.  However there are a few changes and additions.

  1. Member Discussions: Netflix will never have members discussions. Why? Can you imagine Netflix allowing members to discover some members get throttled while others don't? I'll concede Netflix members can share reviews with "friends" online however, this is by no means a 2-way discussion. GreenCine remains the only DVD delivery service (of the three) that allows members to interact with other members. GreenCine members can also discuss their favorite movie genre and keep up-to-date with upcoming releases.

  2. Delayed Shipping:  Netflix is the only company that admits they delay shipping to their customers (aka throttling).  As per their Terms of Use: subscribers can expect delays of, "at least one business day" for their next shipment once their rental has been received.  Netflix customers can also expect, "delivery taking longer, as the shipments may not be sent from your local distribution center."  Netflix loves to ship my rentals from Hawaii.
  3. Price Per Rental:  Blockbuster has recently raised their subscription price to match that of Netflix. My Netflix and Blockbuster cost per rental are approximately $1.33 and $1.41 respectively while GreenCine's cost is significantly higher at $2.36 per rental.
  4. Anime Selection:  Netflix and especially Blockbuster Online have improved their anime selection although Netflix has a slight edge. Anime selection is what drove me to GreenCine initially. There were many anime titles unavailable at Netflix that GreenCine carried. Today, I still give GreenCine the lead over Netflix when it comes to anime selection however Netflix continues to narrow the lead. For instance, volumes 36-50 of Urusei Yatsura are unavailable at GreenCine yet available at Netflix. Itís ironic, Netflix didnít carry Urusei Yatsura 2 years agoóone of the reasons I joined GreenCine.
  5. Foreign Film Selection:  I've compared (11/28/06) all three's foreign film selection and all did poorly although Blockbuster did slightly better than the others.
  6. Adding Volumes To Queue:  If you rent serials, TV shows for example, adding individual volumes becomes a routine function. Netflix makes it easy to add subsequent volumes--Just click on any serial in your queue and choose the volume you wish to add. Blockbuster recently added this feature to their site however it has not been fully implemented:

    BlockBuster Online
    Last year, GreenCine removed this utility from their site for reasons unknown.

  7. Envelope Quality:  I lost one Blockbuster rental in the mail because the envelope fell apart. Since then, Blockbuster has improved their envelope quality. GreenCine remains the leader when it comes to sturdy envelopes. GreenCine is the only one of the three which includes protective packaging. The fact that I've never received a broken DVD from GreenCine is proof their padded envelopes are superior to those of Blockbuster and Netflix. Altogether, I've received 44 broken DVD's between Netflix and Blockbuster.
  8. Playable Rentals:  My pet peeve! If I had to choose one reason for disliking Netflix it would be the number of cracked rentals they've sent me. Over the past 2 years Netflix has sent me 28 cracked rentals and 2 scratched rentals that would not play. Blockbuster has also sent an alarming number of broken rentals--this is the result of mailing fragile DVDs without any type of protection. Occasionally, all three services ship rentals that have minor playback difficulty due to scratches. None of the 242 rentals I've received from GreenCine have been broken or unplayable.
  9. Ethical Business Practice:  Early this year, Netflix settled a lawsuit for defrauding their customers. Interestingly, my experience with Netflix's deceptive practices became the subject of a case study on Findlaw.com. Netflix has admitted providing customers service on 2 tiers--more profitable customers received better service. Furthermore, Netflix has been using spyware on the public to steal customers from Blockbuster, GreenCine, and others. Also, Netflix insulted consumers' intelligence by promoting a customer satisfaction survey which remarkably omitted Netflix customers.
  10. Rental Recommendations:  98% of the titles I rent are anime yet Blockbuster and Netflix consistently recommend other genres.  GreenCine recommends anime--I'm not that hard to please.
  11. Title Availability:  Expect long waits on certain titles from GreenCine, Blockbuster, and Netflix. However, Blockbuster is most problematic when it comes to availability. Also, Blockbuster incorrectly lists titles with long waits as "Available."
  12. Free In-Store Rentals:  Blockbuster provides a solution for those occasions when rentals don't arrive in the mail or when rentals arrived damaged and unplayable.
  13. Rating Individual Volumes:  Sadly, Blockbuster has followed in Netflix's footsteps by eliminating ratings of individual serial volumes. This was a recent change for Blockbuster during their web site update.
  14. Volume Information:  Netflix usually provides information on each volume except GreenCine is more in-depth.  In this example, GreenCine provides volume information on the anime Lost Universe.  Not only does GreenCine provide volume number, they include the volume title as well--Netflix does not.  GreenCine and Blockbuster also provide the DVD cover for each volume as well as a separate page with information on each volume.  Netflix omitting this information is a minor inconvenience.  Granted Blockbuster Online is still organizing their web site, however they occasionally omit basic information like the volume number which sends me to GreenCine looking for information.  Both GreenCine and Netflix are more reliable for basic information such as volume number.
  15. Search Engine Results:  I have no particular opinion on Blockbuster's or Netflix's search engine.  I will say GreenCine was able to find the anime Seven of Seven while Netflix could not.  Netflix lists this title as "Nana Seven of Seven" probably as this title in Japanese is Shichinin No Nana (Seven people of Seven).
  16. DVD Format Information: I really haven't paid much attention to this in the past until I recently purchased a wide screen TV and surround sound speakers. Netflix does a good job of including picture and audio formats of their rentals. This information is helpful when playing your rentals at home. Greencine's title descriptions do not always include this information: Blockbuster is even worse.
  17. Complete Serials: A majority of my rentals are anime TV series. I've found that Netflix and GreenCine usually own every volume of a series. GreenCine excels in this category however Netflix is rapidly catching up. Many of Blockbuster's TV series are incomplete. I frequently find myself having to switch my anime over from Blockbuster to Netflix or GreenCine when Blockbuster is missing a volume.
  18. Broken Rental Replacement: If you're also customer of your local Blockbuster, you may exchange your broken Blockbuster Online rental for a replacement. This is truly the only legitimate rental replacement offered by these three services. Netflix customers are also offered a so-called "replacement." I'm sorry, making your customers rent the title again is NOT a replacement. In the past, Netflix has come up with schemes to make customers believe they were getting a rental replacement. The only drawback I see to Blockbuster's in-store replacement is title selection. I rent anime exclusively. I've rented over 1,000 anime DVDs. My local Blockbuster owns less than 100 anime titles. Chances are my local Blockbuster will not have the anime title I rented online.
  19. Rentals Per Month: Over the last 20 months, Netflix has provided, on average, 13.7 rentals per month compared to Blockbuster Online's 13.4 rentals per month and GreenCine's 9.2 rentals per month. Both Netflix and Blockbuster have distribution centers across the United States which decreases the shipping time for subscribers throughout the country. Unfortunately, GreenCine only has one distribution center located on the West Coast.

Instrument

In order to provide a meaningful review of the 3 companies, I created a 19-item questionnaire utilizing a 5-point Likert scale.  The questionnaire's objective is to measure Netflix, GreenCine, and Blockbuster customer satisfaction.

Findings

After administering the questionnaire to myself I determined that GreenCine provided the best customer satisfaction:

OVERALL SCORES
Netflix = 2.7
Blockbuster Online = 2.8 
GreenCine = 3.2

As I predicted, Blockbuster surpassed Netflix in customer satisfaction yet I'm disappointed in Blockbuster's progress.  I would have thought the difference would be far greater.  I expect Blockbuster will continue to surpass Netflix.  Netflix is also improving--I just wish they weren't so scummy.  Personally, I don't think GreenCine has improved at all since last year. They've cluttered their Web site with advertisements, confusing navigation bars, and purchasing options.  At the same time, GreenCine has done away with some useful features.


19-Item Online DVD Rental Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire

Respond to the following statements with:

a. Strongly Disagree b. Disagree c. Uncertain d. Agree e. Strongly Agree

Use the same questions to measure Blockbuster and GreenCine customer satisfaction.

  1. Netflix member can have online discussions.
  2. Netflix deliberately delays rental shipments.
  3. Netflix provides an economical price per rental.
  4. Netflix has a scant anime selection
  5. Netflix has a comprehensive foreign film selection.
  6. Netflix makes it difficult to add volumes of a series to your queue.
  7. Netflix envelopes are sturdy and easy to use.
  8. Netflix always provides rentals that play.
  9. Netflix doesn't use ethical business practices.
  10. Netflix provides useful movie recommendations.
  11. Netflix titles are always available.
  12. Netflix provides free in-store rentals.
  13. Netflix allows subscribers to rate individual volumes in a series.
  14. Netflix provides detailed volume information on serials.
  15. Netflix provides relevant search results.
  16. Netflix seldom provide DVD format information.
  17. Many TV series from Netflix are incomplete.
  18. Netflix provides free in-store exchange for broken rentals
  19. Netflix provides few rentals per month.

Score Determination

Scoring for positively worded statements

Strongly Disagree=1 Disagree=2 Uncertain=3 Agree=4 Strongly Agree=5

Scoring for negatively worded statements

Strongly Disagree=5 Disagree=4 Uncertain=3 Agree=2 Strongly Agree=1

The score is the average of the 18 items.

RESULTS

Netflix  Blockbuster  GreenCine
Member Discussions 2 1 4
Delayed Shipments 1 3 4
Price Per Rental 4 4 2
Anime Selection 4 4 4
Foreign Film Selection 2 2 2
Adding Volumes to Queue  5 3 2
Envelopes 1 1 5
Playable Rentals 2 2 4
Ethical Business Practices 1 4 4
Rental Recommendations 4 3 4
Availability 2 1 2
Free In-Store Rentals 1 5 1
Rate Volumes 1 1 5
Volume Information 4 2 4
Search Engine 4 4 4
Format Information 4 2 3
Complete Series 4 2 4
Free Exchanges 1 5 1
Movies Per Month 4 4 2

TOTAL 51 53 61
AVERAGE 2.7 2.8 3.2
 

Written by M. Villanueva 
January 15, 2007
Revised 1/20/07


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