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“The Best Way to Rent Movies”

April 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Netflix is undeniably one of the most popular entertainment sources of all time. In the beginning Blockbuster was the go to store for movie rentals, eventually they suffocated their customers with late fees. Suddenly, during customer dissatisfaction a new service called Netflix came out and offered a convenient and sensible way to rent movies. The rapid growth from just mailing movies to streaming and viewing documentaries, a TV shows, and movies through almost all internet connected devices was unbelievable. Netflix is also inexpensive. Instead of having to pay for individual movies, which could be anywhere from 5-10 dollars a movie, customer’s pay a monthly fee for unlimited movies and TV shows. Considering the extreme change in price of viewing movies, Netflix was immediately a preferred substitute to the regular movie rental store. Netflix grew to be a good used in place of another.

In economic terms Netflix is used as a substitute for regular movie rentals. Originally the best feature of Netflix was that the movies were sent to you. Customers preferred having a movie sent to them rather than a car trip to the movie rental store so they substituted the store with Netflix. Netflix also has a large selection, around 100,000 movies while a competitor, Blockbuster Online, has just 80,000. Some of the factors that attracted customers to substitute their normal movie rental companies was the low price, fast delivery, and no late fees.

The Wall Street Journal says that Netflix claims it has added a net 2.03 million domestic streaming subscribers in the first quarter of 2013. This compares with the 1.74 million in the first quarter of 2012. The growth is obvious and as their subscribers increase Netflix will need to raise their prices in order to boost revenue. Netflix is currently working out a four-stream plan that is priced higher than the regular subscription.

Although it may seem like Netflix still has not reached it’s full potential, it seems as though 2013 will be a tough year for the company. Netflix directs its business plan in investing in content for its customers within its profitability goals. But, by looking at the cost Netflix has coming in the next year for new content and technology, they may need to reevaluate their financial plan. A graph from Seeking Alpha shows the relationship of revenues, streaming library amortization costs, technology cost, and earning in Billions from the past three years.

Recently, Netflix has had to deal with password sharing accounts and not gaining profit because of sharing. They have made a plan where customers can buy a four streaming plan at $11.99, this plan is for families. Netflix will need to find ways to raise costs so that they can pay for their additions in programs to their selection. Netflix has stated that they are improving their profits and reducing losses in all markets.

They have currently added the popular TV series called “House of Cards.” Their profit is up now as more subscribers are wanting to view the series. Their current total number of subscribers is up to 29.2 million which has beaten out other streaming companies such as HBOgo. According to The Celebrity Cafe, “prices will not have to go up. But that means that Netflix will have to continue to bring in more subscribers, since it is not supported by advertisers.”

Netflix’s original substitute of mailing movies to driving to a local blockbuster was the reason they became such a popular service. Netflix is in current competition with other streaming companies such as Apple’s iTunes and Amazon. Netflix’s streaming revenue is around four times larger than their older DVD mailing service. Because Netflix came in at the right time they were immediately used as a substitute good. Although it may seem that they are a stable and profitable company they have to deal with the debt they accumulated by adding content to their media library.

Netflix is a substitute good because it is a good in which, as a result of a change in conditions replaced another good in use. Because of its growth Netflix is now the number two video subscription service behind Comcast. The idea of driving to stores to rent movies is now almost completely forgotten and Netflix has defined current standards of viewing movies and TV series. Netflix is an example of an influential substitute good and has become a dominant entertainment provider.

Categories: B2 Tags: , ,

Our Electoral Engagement

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

The most influential act of voting for our nation is exercised through the election of the US president every four years. Things that motivate us as US citizens to vote may be beliefs, “fitting in”, campaigns, and even the idea of having an impact on one of the biggest decisions of the United States. Truthfully, when voting in the United States everyone’s vote is not even counted considering the Electoral College. So consequently, “…people think their vote makes a difference, and have this mistaken belief even though statistically it’s not the case” (Munsey). But is it important for voters to participate even though most of their votes will not truly affect the outcome of the election?

The goal of voting in the United States is to promote a general welfare in the US with a wider range of voters making decisions that will maximize this general welfare. 

When citizens vote they have a sense of personal power and satisfaction knowing they have voiced their opinion. The idea of have an expressive power to vote for someone and against someone gives the voter a feeling of “personal efficacy” on our government. There has also been shown that there are health benefits from voting.  Communities that often vote more are represented better and are given more attention. With this attention they can have a, “greater social capital, less crime, more connectiveness, better health, and better services” (Sanders). Obviously from voting there is an impact made on our government. By voting, individuals make decisions on countless factors including laws, budgets and public policy by choosing a President that do what is desired by the voter.

Unfortunately there is an immense amount of registered voters, but they do not even vote. They are less engaged in politics, and do not feel impactful in the election. They often do not know enough about the candidates to be able to cast a ballot. Most often these citizens are uninterested in the political process and do not feel the need or desire to change how our government is functioning. One excuse of non-voters is the “I’m too busy to vote,” excuse. Although it may seem that they are not even making a decision in the election, they are. They are choosing not to voice their opinion, or they made the decision that they are indifferent to who is elected.

Political science majors at Indiana University observed the youth voter outcome in the 2008 election. They created a long survey and sent it out to hundreds of IU students.  The results from the survey proved to be unexpected. 30 percent of the respondents said that they were annoyed by the activists that promote voting, but most vote anyways. Data showed that the people who register to vote in the first election after turning 18 are more likely to become lifelong voters. The young voters really felt as though they had a voice they said and that Obama was going to win if young people voted. Even though there was an increase in voting turnout for Americans under 30 they are still only at around a 53 percent voter turnout, which is shy of the rates for older voters.

An example of promoting voting for young people is “Rock the Vote.” It has registered more than five million young voters and gives information for how to register to vote and how to cast a ballot. They use popular culture and grassroots organizing to motivate and mobilize young people in the US to participate in every election. This organization is just one example of a way that young people are encouraged to participate.

It is important for young people to vote because it will show government that they want to be represented. Because older voters are the most reliable voters government does what will please them. It is not worth a politician’s time to put effort in a group of young voters that do not even participate. Government collects statistics on what age group votes more often and from this politicians are able to more effectively campaign and get votes. By having the younger voters participate they are getting the attention of government and are being more “politically effective.”

For this past presidential election between Obama and Mitt Romney voter participation was down from the 2004 and 2008 percentages.  With the voter turnout at 57.5% (CNN Wire) of registered voters participating in the election this shows that close to half do not even cast a ballot. The below infographic from Jasmin shows the turnout and how age plays a role in determining who goes to polls or not.


Overall voter participation is a statistic that can be an overwhelming eye sore to many political scientists. Although it brings a concern I believe that it is the decision of any person whether they want to vote or not, and that is their participation in an election. Many say that everyone participating in elections preserves our democracy. Yes, it does preserve our democracy, but nonvoters are just as equally exercising their right to vote by not choosing to. I am not supporting the idea of no voter participation; I simply think that because they do not vote, that ultimately is their opinion. They have no opinion on the matter at hand whether it is a presidential or senator election for example and that is their “vote”.

Voter participation will always be a touchy subject and bring questions of a true democracy or of how government is actually representing voters. Young people are a necessary voice in our democracy and if they have an opinion they need to voice it by voting. Otherwise, if they are indifferent to the election or voting they can choose to not vote, thus this being their voice in elections.

Taking the Power to Persuade Too Far

February 21, 2013 1 comment

We have studied in our Government class the powers of the Presidency. The modern presidency requires use of different powers that are not outlined in the Constitution. He uses this power while in office communicating to Congress and the House, but he also needs to use it while communicating to the public. The President must use the Power to Persuade in order to gain the support of the American people. During speeches, addresses and debates he has to appeal to the public’s needs. With his power to persuade he is able to rally and gain voters and supporters.  Although I understand it is necessary to do as much as you can to please voters, I do not think stretching the truth should be an option.

The President has to appeal to his supporters and the majority of the citizens in the US. With that, there is a chance that he may stretch the truth in order to please the majority. Sometimes, “The president sets soaring expectations, but doesn’t meet them. His broken promises, failed veto threats, and reversals…” (Chandler).  Not only can a President promise things that will not happen, but he also can exaggerate or even say the wrong thing in front of the whole United States.

Regarding my topic I wanted to find parts of Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address where his words, facts, and numbers were not completely right. As I read through two articles [Washington Post and Fox News] I noticed that even the smallest change in words can alter the whole context of what the public hears. There are many cases where President Obama does not say what is actually correct because he phrases his speeches, debates and addresses in wrong context.

Obama giving his State of the Union Address 2013

For the first example fact Obama states in his address he mentions jobs. Obama says, “After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs.”

Obama is generally telling the truth but he counts the number of new jobs from the point in his first term when job losses were at their highest. He ignores the around 5 million job losses up to his first term. With regard to other factors and elements he technically had an increase of 1.2 million jobs.

Next, Obama states that, “We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas.”

The drastic assumption that Obama makes is not right. We are not even close to doubling the distance we go on a gallon of gas. The deal that the Obama Administration made with automakers will create an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. So, Obama is definitely stretching the truth in this statement.

Obama also says that, “We buy … less foreign oil than we have in 20 [years].”

There really is nothing that relates the decline of foreign oil consumption to Obama’s presidency. If anything the decline started 2 years before Obama’s presidency. To show the decline Bloomberg says, “In 2011, the U.S. relied on imports for 44.8 percent of its petroleum consumption, down from 60.3 percent in 2005, according to EIA data.”

The United State’s citizens listen and learn from what the President says and promises. I feel it is the job of the President to provide facts, numbers and statements that are true to the entire United States. How can we grow as a nation when we are not given the correct information from our own leader? US citizens are becoming less informed and interested in government and Andrew Romano says, “Most experts agree that the relative complexity of the U.S. political system makes it hard for Americans to keep up.” Citizens definitely do not have to know everything about government and the system but they need to be informed about the state of the US and what challenges we are facing. Because the President is a main source of information it is necessary that the info he says is accurate and reliable. Pleasing the public with what they want to hear does not help the United States as a whole and can cause confusion and agreement to decisions that can harm us as a nation.

When President Obama is addressing the United States’ Citizens, should he please the people by saying the things they want to hear or should he stick to the cold hard facts. Obviously he has to persuade voters by saying the things people want to hear, but does that hurt the US as a whole? Is it the job of US citizens to know about all the topics that the President talks about and decipher when he is not exactly telling the truth or says something wrong? Overall, I definitely think the needed use of  persuading the public and voters can cause a skew in the line of fact and truth being told the public.

President Obama Campaigning: Persuading Voters

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