Netflix Will Start Treating Americans As Well As Canadians 'Over Coming Months'

Making an about-face after stirring up a hornet’s nest of discontent by saying Americans were too self-absorbed to notice his company was providing cheap, streaming-only access to Canadian customers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he was joking and that Americans would get a similar service soon.

Hastings writes on the Netflix Blog:

My Big American Foot is in my mouth. Yesterday, I made an awkward joke with a reporter in Toronto about Americans (like me) being self-absorbed relative to Netflix pricing in Canada. I was wrong to have made the joke, and I do not believe that one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world (America) is self-absorbed or full of self-absorbed people. The pricing Netflix is offering in Canada, $7.99 per month, does not include any DVD-by-mail option, and that is why it is cheaper than our $8.99 USA plan which has both DVD-by-mail and streaming in one plan. We are looking at adding a streaming-only option for the USA over the coming months. My apologies to anyone offended by my self-absorbed comment.

Apologies [Netflix Blog via Engadget]

Previously: Netflix CEO: Americans Too Self-Absorbed To Notice Netflix Is Cheaper In Canada


Edit Your Comment

  1. shepd says:

    Canada’s netflix also has a particularly terrible selection. None of any of these movies (or their sequels, or even serials) were found by me, so I gave up and did even bother getting the free subscription: Aliens, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Robocop, Die Hard… There’s more that are missing, those are just some of my 100% failed searches for movies.

    Did I mention that doesn’t support almost all devices, apart from the Wii, PS3, i*, and things that run silverlight? I was really holding out a lot of hope, being as I own a 360 and a netflix enabled bluray player, but I don’t have anything that will even play the content, never mind that the selection is non-existent.

    I do hope they fix those problems, though, because I am definitely excited, and I know it’s not like that in the US. I’ll check again in a few months and see if it’s improved.

    • valueofaloonie says:

      I’m going to try out their 1 month trial, but I’m going to wait until they support XBox streaming…which I’ve heard is coming in the next month or so? I’m hoping by that time their selection will have improved. You’re right, it’s pretty dismal right now.

    • sniega says:

      They can’t even caption their streaming movies, and they have the ability to do so. I wouldn’t expect them to fix these issues any time soon.

      • Chaosium says:

        “They can’t even caption their streaming movies, and they have the ability to do so. I wouldn’t expect them to fix these issues any time soon.”

        Are you nuts?

        While I sympathize with the need to caption, they don’t just “flip a switch” and they’re on, they need to bake the captions into the actual video stream.

        I absolutely think they should be pressured into adding that extra option. It is however not as easy as you’re claiming here, unless you know something that the rest of us don’t.

        • shepd says:

          I don’t know what format netflix uses to stream, however, there are popular formats such as MKV that don’t require hardsubs. Workarounds have existed for quite a while for other formats, even AVI as well for softsubs. So, if they have the text file that made the subs in the first place (or made it themselves), yes, it could be as easy as simply sending that data along with the stream.

          But it probably isn’t, *sigh*.

    • CBenji says:

      I was with them two years ago & they didn’t have streaming on a Mac computer or all those things. Now they do. I went to Blockbuster & now I am dumping them. I am so impressed with the Netflix streaming so just give it time. They will probably surprise you. Of course this Blockbuster bankruptcy will probably change the game for the better because they are probably trying to make a deal for God knows what if they have a brain. Perhaps they don’t know since all they hired was a CFO. Obviously they are only appealing to old people or people who don’t have Internet.

    • Avrus says:


      I contemplated signing up because it’s relatively inexpensive but I failed in my attempt at finding any sort of content I would watch (TV or movies).

      They may have me as a client should they fill their catalogues.

  2. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:


  3. danmac says:

    Meh…I think he was being facetious when he made his original comment and an apology isn’t necessary.

  4. TopcatF14B says:

    Actually I thought his original comment was fairly spot on… too bad he backtracked.

    • c!tizen says:

      cause the rest of the world is so caring?

      • seanjustinpenn says:

        I believe the terminology he used was self-abosorbed. The rest of the world knows a lot more about the US than Americans know about any other place in the world.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          It’s hard not to know about the US if you are from another country. And most of us know about other countries, they aren’t just all the same ones. Might as well complain that you know Bruce Willis’ name, but he doesn’t know yours, so that proves he’s self-absorbed.

    • ShadowFalls says:

      Nah, good he did. Because now he plays it like this without actually having to say it: “If you were offended by my joke calling Americans self-absorbed, that is because you are.”

  5. gargunkle says:

    That doesn’t sound like such an improved deal to me. An extra $1 to have DVD rentals on top of the online streaming sounds quite fair. Granted, those who want to have the absolute minimum cost… well, they should probably start going to their local library.

    • Sammich says:

      Better deal for those who just use the streaming. And it’s not like they’re saying it will replace the current $8.99 deal.

    • herbie says:

      My library doesn’t have DVDs/CDs. It’s not always an option.

    • Noadi says:

      I really only use the streaming so I’m paying an extra $1 for DVDs I don’t get. Not a terribly big deal but if I have an option to switch to streaming only I will.

      • jezebelseven says:

        I only use the streaming, as well. I’ve had the same DVD sitting in my room for 5 months until I put my account on hold. I then struggled to find the DVD to return. Whoops.

        I’d be glad to see a streaming only option.

    • CBenji says:

      Where I live there are a lot of libraries closing down or having very limited hours such as 10 a week. They are only using volunteers as the state has cut down funding to such as very little amount and they can get nobody to work there. Also they are getting no dvds. I am wondering what states still have such luxuries.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      my library has never carried dvds. which i find really odd since i’ve moved a lot and been a member of at least half a dozen other libraries that all did.
      even so, those libraries never had anywhere close to the selection of netflix

  6. Alvis says:

    7.99 CAD != 7.99 USD

  7. c!tizen says:

    I love the CEO back-peddle, it’s my favorite business maneuver.

  8. valueofaloonie says:

    Yeah, how dare someone make a joke about America! How ridiculous that people were actually offended by that.

  9. minjche says:

    Probably one of the best CEO apologies I’ve ever seen.

  10. blag says:

    Well, Americans ARE totally self-absorbed, but we do recognize a great deal when we see one. Even if the basic service is a buck cheaper in Canada, what do we really care when the price is already quite satisfying in America?

  11. HeyThereKiller says:

    I have no idea what or where the last physical DVD I got from Netflix is… so as much as I’d like to switch to a streaming only plan (since that’s all I use) it’d take me over two years to recoup the cost of having to pay for that lost DVD.

    What to do…

  12. AngryK9 says:

    It’s true. Most Americans really are too self-absorbed. I have that habit myself more than I care to admit.

  13. Dieflatermous says:

    For people concerned about the current content, it’s going to improve a lot over the next few months — a lot of films have had to be re-rated as Canada has a different set of conditions for movie ratings. The licensing is already done with, which is the biggest delay, this one is just a pain.

    I love the ability to set my PC streaming to HD or not as I choose — with the recent drop in cable caps from Rogers, everything defaulting to HD was going to cut my watching ability in half.

    I mentioned in my signup that I had an Xbox 360 and they had a splash page saying that they would have 360 compatibility within the next 2 months.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      LOL,,,well well. Now the Canadians can have all those damn Gene Autry movies that we got two years ago.

      Remember 2008? There were like five good online movies with 2000 Gene Autry movies?

    • shepd says:

      I’m surprised with the requirement to re-rate movies that are already rated for Canada, unless netflix has totally different cuts. Oh well, as long as there’s no bootlicking it’ll be OK to put it up as NC-17. :^D

      As for the 360 support in a couple of months, sweet! I’ll check back then.

      Oh: You need TSi or another $50 a month. ;-) Yeah, I know the DSL unlimited ride ends soon, sorry. But perhaps you’re lucky enough to be served by Teksavvy cable…

  14. jerryambler says:

    I’m not offended , i just think you’re an idiot who’s paid a lot of money to be one.

  15. Admiral_John says:

    I would love for Netflix to implement a streaming-only plan so I couDISTRACTED BY BUNNY

  16. El_Fez says:

    Ah, yes – a “Joke”, otherwise known as “I got caught saying stupid shit and now I have to backpedal as fast as I can!”

    My comment from yesterday still stands: Fuck You, Mr Netflix CEO

  17. Cicadymn says:

    He’s like someone that got caught hitting on a girl at work and then was reported for sexual harrassment.

    I was only joking guys! Honest!

  18. ryes says:

    But he was right the first time. We are the most self-absorbed people on the face of the earth. You simply need to be working in any service category to know how right he is.

    • c!tizen says:

      I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

      ***AMERRRICAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA /FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • BluePlastic says:

      What are you comparing that to, though? Have you also worked in a service industry in other countries?

  19. Clyde Barrow says:

    Actually I like the option of online streaming only also. Now that Netflix has a almost never ending assortment of online movies and TV shows, I see no point in having DVDs sent to my house.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yeah, but come on, Netflix, let’s get more on the streaming selection. There’s not a lot to choose from. I keep finding a ton of movies I want to see, but they are on disc only.

      I would get a Roku box or something and switch if they had more to stream.

  20. Wolfie XIII says:

    But as an American I can say most of us are too self absorbed to notice or care unless the media tells us to care. In general the population of my country makes me sick.

  21. sparc says:

    seems like a win for Netflix. Two articles on consumerist about an issue that turned out to be nothing. Plus it was picked up a bunch of other websites.

    CEO made a goof, but minor enough to get the right attention on their pricing and what Netflix is actually offering.

    Meanwhile, Blockbuster rolls on with it’s bankruptcy…

  22. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    There are still things I can’t get streaming on Netflix. That’s worth $12 a year to me!

  23. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I wasn’t really offended and I love my Netflix.

  24. The Lone Gunman says:

    I just wish they would let me attach my American AAdvantage number to my existing Netflix account. That, apparently, is only available to “new customers”–not someone who has been with them for years.

  25. Pax says:


    It’s a dollar. I really didn’t care – not due to apathy, nor “being too self-absorbed”.

    Rather, because one dollar wasn’t worth getting worked up about.

  26. crb042 says:

    as far as apologies go, that one doesn’t sound like it was written by the advertising department. Guess that’s good enough.

  27. baristabrawl says:

    Um, we’re totally self-absorbed.

  28. Weekilter says:

    But with the $8.99 (less than $9!) plan you also get one out and one in DVD in the mail in addition to streaming. Qanajuns don’t get any DVDs at all just the streaming media.

  29. davidc says:

    I don’t know about “Self-Absorbed” … as that speaks to “blinders” on. I don’t have “blinders” on I just could not care less about what the rest of the world is doing. Really, let me try caring … hmm … let me try again … nope … nothing.

    As an American, I keep *track* of what is going on, but I don’t change my decisions because some dysfunctional entity, like the UN, doesn’t like this or that … or some socialist leader doesn’t like this or that.

    I don’t live in their country and they don’t live in mine. Keep off my grass!

  30. ericfate says:

    It is a different market. Why would I care that they get a different rate? I’m satisfied with the rate they offered me for the service when I signed up. If I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have an account at all.

  31. Happy13178 says:

    Big deal. With the amount of tax we pay and additional bandwidth ripoffs, it ends up costing more anyways.

  32. FrugalFreak says:

    Treating?? paying for a service is not a TREAT. no goodwill involved here.