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At least we're all past pretending the Fed has a mandate to maximize employment. /:
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Couldn't the Fed, if it chose, pursue fiscal policy on its own? By that I mean, is there a law that would prevent the Fed from doing something like giving free money to state and local governments? I don't believe this has been done before, but if the Fed can 'print money' to provide banks with liquidity, surely nothing prevents it from doing the same to benefit school districts, cities, counties and states.
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I had a mailing/delivery problem about 3-4 months ago. This occurred about 6 months after the local post office eliminated sorting of local and out-of-town mail. Since last year, all mail sent from here gets sorted in a city about 1 hour away. First, I noticed a DVD I mailed back took 2 days to get to Netflix. Then another took 3 days. I also had a delay on receiving discs. This lasted about a week until I called and complained. Miraculously, after that call, the problem disappeared and I haven't had a delay issue since. Like others, I've noticed increasing delays and waits with new films in my queue. It's hard to say that things are worse in this regard as compared to a year or two ago.
Most typical problems I've had with damaged DVDs, historically, was always with older films and especially TV series. The only recent problem I experienced was just this week, with a new DVD; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I received it the day the film released on Netflix. The problem was a heavily distorted audio track. This may not have been the disc, but the DVD player, or some combination of that particular DVD and the 5 year old, super cheap, player. The sound issue seemed very much like electrical/RF "noise". It didn't happen right away, but about 45 minutes or so into the film and then persisted throughout. Maybe it was related to some type of weird copy protection or DRM built into the DVD. Pausing/rewinding/fast forwarding cleared it up for brief periods. Since, I tried another DVD in the same player and had no issues. Very odd.
Yeah, how many episodes are they getting for $100M, exactly? Mad Men was produced on a budget of $2M-$2.5M for its first two seasons. A typical hour long scripted drama on a broadcast network is about $3M, I believe. Now, if a show really takes off to the point where individual actors are pulling down a huge salary, these figures go up. Sometimes way up. Charlie Sheen, I believe, was making millions per 21 minute episode of Two And A Half Men. As AMC found out (with Mad Men and Breaking Bad), if you don't own a show, you have lower risk, but limited ability to dictate budget. As Walking Dead creator Frank Darabount found out, if a network owns your show, you could be out on your ass for no reason. Hopefully, Netflix has learned something from the success and failures of others.
re: Time Warner. Time Warner Cable was spun off a number of years ago and is largely independent of the rest of the organization which includes CNN, HBO, and the movie studio(s). That said, it took "Linsanity" to get TWC to meet MSG's terms so customers in NYC can watch most Knicks games. TWC plays hard ball. In any case, I don't think there ever was a point that a Netflix type content provider would be able to partner successfully with any of the large cable operators. On-Demand video rolled out at basically the same time as high speed internet in virtually all markets. In some cases, OnDemand was available before cable internet service. The profit margins for OnDemand videos are quite good on a per movie basis, as high as 50%. "Rent" one film for 24 hours from a cable company and they've made more $ than Netflix or anyone else would share with them for a whole month's service. Partnering with Netflix is basically cutting off your nose to spite your face if you're a cable operator. Netflix and cable operators are, and have been, direct competitors, even before the cable side started creating Netflix-like monthly subscription content.
The main thing is Netflix keeps carrying independent films in some format. I don't use streaming often, but would obviously watch titles there if I can't them on DVD. It is surprising they would cut back on streaming acquisitions, though, because that seems to the direction management wants to take the company. They can't be very successful just offering streaming content that's available every third month via HBO/Showtime/Starz/Encore/IFC/Sundance. While having complete TV series at your fingertips is nice, it's not enough alone to build a large business model on. I will take a moment to point out in Netflix's most recent quarterly report where the company's profit came from. Something like 75% came from the old DVD by snail mail side of the business. It's important to note that this "half" of their business is the only portion the company has complete control over. If Warner, Sony, Universal, et al don't want to sell streaming rights to Netflix, there's nothing than can do to secure it. On the old media side, they can buy DVDs in bulk, continue to mail them to your house, and by doctrine of 1st sale there's no way the movie studios can stop them except to stop selling DVDs. In this light, the corporate focus on streaming "at all costs" is quite mystifying.
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Oct 7, 2011