Netflix’s Secret Weapon: The Schindler’s List Effect

This summer, we found an unusual occurence: all of our friends had a copy of Schindler’s list on loan from Netflix at the same time. We all had received the film some time ago and refused to watch it,but we also refused to return it.

The secret behind this film’s importance to the Netflix company is complex:
  1. It is undeniably a fantastic movie, so it is a common movie to add to your queue, since the Netflix algorithms are pretty sure you will give it 4 or 5 stars too.
  2. It is a gut wrenchingly sad movie that nobody actually wants to see.    (It’s different to want to have watched something than to roll into the house after a long day and want to watch this film.)  Remember, it’s also two DVD’s long. This isn’t even an efficient mechanism to cause self-inflicted depression.
  3. The subject matter (holocaust) is so emotionally loaded, that we feel guilt about the fact that we don’t want to watch the film.  This may play into why we refuse to return it unwatched.

Net Result: We refused to watch or return it.  It clogs up everyone’s queue at a cost to Netflix of $14.99.  This treacherous film clogged our low-cost 1-at-a-time netflix queue completely for four months.  At the end of the day, we paid (4 x $4.99 = $19.96) to neither watch nor own this movie, and feel guilty about it too.

I wonder what other movies in the Netflix Catalgoue exhibit the Schindler’s List Effect.

1 Response

  1. October 19, 2011


    […]Netflix’s Secret Weapon: The Schindler’s List Effect » Tom Alphin's Blog[…]…

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