Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dark Shadows: The Netflix Wars

I've been getting a lot of traffic to this site in the last few weeks about the availability of DARK SHADOWS on Netflix. More than a year ago, I wrote a short piece about how the entirety of the show was once available streaming, and then (probably around the time the complete DVD collection was released) how the selection was whittled down to a few hundred episodes.

Since then, nothing has changed. The same episodes are still streaming, and Netflix still has nothing to say on the subject. A few months ago I called Netflix to ask if the company had any plans to re-instate all or part of the series. I spoke to a very polite, very enthusiastic woman at the Netflix help desk, who gave me a stock answer: If Netflix doesn't have it, Netflix is working to get it. It didn't answer my question, but whatever.

After that, I sent an e-mail a bit higher up the food chain: Netflix's public relations arm. Here was my question:
I run a website dedicated to the television show DARK SHADOWS. Recently, I've been hit with a lot of traffic (and questions) from people interested in watching the program through your streaming service. Many of the episodes were once available, but now there are fewer than 200 of the shows +1,200 episodes now streaming. It's my understanding that this is a "licensing issue," but could I get a more specific answer about the status of original DARK SHADOWS at Netflix? I'm not asking you to renegotiate a licensing contract in a public forum, but if there are any specific details you could provide, my readers would greatly appreciate it.
That message was Feb. 7, and there has been no response. Honestly, I wasn't expecting one (or at least an answer that was helpful.) Media rights are vastly complicated, and it's understandable that a company would want to maintain a poker face during any kind of business negotiation. If they're really working to purchase the rights to stream the rest of DARK SHADOWS, it's not in their interest to look eager. That being said, if a "public relations" office doesn't respond to public requests, what is it they're doing during the workday?

This is also as good a time as any to address some concerns from readers who don't appear to know what Netflix does. The company is a paid subscription service with two major video components. The first is the "mail order" service that allows you to rent movies via snail mail. The other is a streaming service, which charges a fee to allow customers to watch movies using the Internet. The "streaming" selection, of course, is constantly in flux, and is never as strong as the catalog movies available of DVD. But there's no waiting, no risk of receiving a damaged disc and no trips to the mailbox. I mention this because some people appear to think Netflix is a free service, and it's not. The people asking for Netflix to reinstate the series are, in fact, asking for the opportunity to pay to watch DARK SHADOWS.


Unknown said...

and on top of all that, they don't even have all the DISCS available!

Anonymous said...

I agree. My grandson was enjoying it and then we realized we could only watch so many episodes.

Dr. Theda said...

I did a "A-Z "B" post of Barnabas at the "Crypt" ... your new Follower and "fiend" ... As well as as Big fan of the Original show... The Doctor.

Jeff J said...

I am cancelling Netflix tomorrow. Just watched last Dark Shadows and there are so many more. Spend my money on the DVDs.

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