Minerva Councils explore Netflix movie option

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By Ryan Semerad

Last spring, Messa House became the first Minerva house to obtain a Netflix account for its members.

Netflix is a video-rental service that offers two general services: instant stream videos, which can be viewed immediately (though selection is somewhat limited), and rental videos, which come as DVDs sent in the mail based on a user’s queue of desired videos.

The latter videos can be used for as long as the user wants, but new videos will not be sent out until the current video in-use is returned.

Netflix is a competitive alternative to Time Warner Cable’s movie channels, which allow users to view video in a similar fashion to Neflix’s instant stream feature, simply because it is less expensive.

According to Netflix’s website, a consumer can obtain a basic service package, which includes only instant stream video, for eight dollars a month and a more comprehensive package, which includes both instant stream and one DVD rental, for ten dollars a month.

Netflix has single-handedly driven traditional video rental outlets like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster Video out of business because of its competitive edge. The question is: how long will it be before Netflix drives out Time Warner’s movie package in the rest of the Minerva Houses?

Assistant Director for Minerva Programs Ben Foster said “it is entirely up to the students in each of the Minervas. They really have tremendous freedom when it comes to this type of thing.” Messa House Council Co-Chair Afrin Nuzhad was responsible for providing her house with a Netflix account.

Presently, Messa’s Netflix account is used for a weekly movie series and for students’ use of the instant stream function the rest of the time.

“I think if all Minervas chose to get a single Netflix account, a lot of money would be saved,” Nuzhad said.

Foster said that currently no other Minerva has actively attempted to obtain a Netflix account and no collective effort has been made to get a Netflix account for every Minerva.

But this is not to say it won’t happen.

“To be honest, Netflix is much cheaper than Time Warner for movies, so a Minerva, if they voted to get an account, would save money,” Foster said.

So will all the Minervas make the switch from Time Warner to Netflix, considering the economic advantages? Only time will tell, as is so often the case. But, it is clear that if the Minervas want to save money and provide a more efficient and popular service to students, they will make the switch at some point.

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