Last week I voiced my fervent desire that Netflix — “Taking agoraphobics to the movies since 1998!” — start shipping Saturdays. After I posted I began to wonder uncertainly if there was some dumbfoundingly obvious reason why the company hasn’t already moved to this schedule, as one sometimes does after making a modest proposal on the Internet (shades of violins on TV).
So I sent an email to the proprietor of Hacking Netflix, who pointed me to an interview he conducted with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last year. Here’s the relevant portion:
HN: Why don’t you work on Saturdays? It seems to be such a competitive advantage for Blockbuster, and everybody’s interested in getting more movies… Is it cost-prohibitive?
Hastings: Prohibitive is a strong word. It’s a cost tradeoff, right, because then you can’t run a standard five day shift. So when you move to a 6th day, then you’ve got not one management team, you’ve got staggered. So the cost is not just 15% more, because you’ve got to figure out dual management, and how you’re going to infringe on people on people’s weekends and yet give them a life. So we make sure that the Monday through Friday works well, and that’s the focus.
According to the MSNBC report, Netflix profits this year are expected to be between $42.4 – $52.4 million. Maybe by the time they’re clearing $60 mill., they’ll have figured out how to get those Saturday shifts manned.