July 01, 2006

Netflix Niagara and Libraries

**Picture Removed at request of Niagra University**
Request stated "The screen capture is a violation of copyright law."

http://www.niagara.edu/library/illdvds.html
Niagara University uses Netflix to expand circualtion and patron access. Nice work!

**Update - "Niagara University Library will no longer be offering the service". Yipes! Wonder what gives? **

A message to Netflix: Would you be interested in starting a program with libraries so that they can do this AND allow their patrons to browse the Netflix catalog?
**maybe not? Hmmm**

Thanks for the link Greg and nice work on this project, Samantha!

Posted by libraryman at July 1, 2006 11:29 AM
Comments

AHHHHH- i tried to add this as a comment to your blog yesterday - but it would not allow me to add it - something about inappropriate content? You decide....

What if instead of "competing" with them, we did a little ju-jitsu and turned it around. What if we subscribed on behalf of our communities? We leverage their better catalog and community-building aspects, more efficient shipping and technology services and get the content our patrons want to them at a lower cost? It’s all about content right? I saw that in comments to your first post, commenters put forth possibly getting a subscription for the library itself, but what about one for the community?

The license negotiated on a community-wide basis would be different, possibly substantially, from the one that they have now, but it might be a way to look at how we provide a service that our communities we want. It might limit the number of titles on a personal and community-wide basis at any point, but leveraging the “social network” side of it might lead to side benefits for the library and the community – maybe there is a “What if we all watched the same movie?” events.

Also, I am not sure that NetFlix is having an impact on the DVD circulation rates of public libraries. I would argue that they are complementary markets for the most part with different focuses. I bet the gurus over at the Normative Data Project could say more about this on a national level (well, at least among PLs utilizing Sirsi systems - for now), but this post from Bob Molyneux is an examination of circulation data of DVDs and books in foreign languages and is an interesting starting point for further discussion in my mind.

To quote Dr. Molyneux (aka Dr. Data):
"From the Amazon reviews, it is clear that these foreign language DVDs have a broad audience. I have a feeling that these kinds of films behave rather like a long-tail phenomenon that suggest that libraries have found a niche. It will take more investigation to see if this notion is correct. The market for these DVDs is well-developed but I bet the demand is rarely up to the level that chains renting DVDs would find appealing."
(http://www.libraryndp.info/blog/archives/2006/03/popular_foreign.html)

And I assume that you have read all the Fast Company articles about NetFlix, but if not they are full of fascinating operational stats and insights into how they process their orders.

If nothing else, we should investigate such a model to see whether it might be possible and what opportunities exist to partner. I also wonder how you could leverage something similar to the model that LSSI is doing in riverside with people buying books and then turning them over to the library. More about this over on TeBo sometime this weekend.

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Thanks for you thoughts Chris. It's always good to hear what you have to say. Every reply to this series of posts gives pause for thought.

You said: "What if instead of "competing" with them, we did a little ju-jitsu and turned it around. What if we subscribed on behalf of our communities?"

Sure! Whatever works best for the libraries and the patrons. That's what Niagara seems to be doing and was sort of the idea with my statement "A message to Netflix: Would you be interested in starting a program with libraries so that they can do this AND allow their patrons to browse the Netflix catalog?" The approach could vary lots of ways, the results hopefully the same: people realize the increased importance of libraries in the shifting content access world. Lets you and me help broker this thing. :)

"Content” did come up in the comments, but from the get-go it has been the ultimate point of this series of posts. In fact the word shows up in all of the posts including the first and will surely continue to. From the first post in the series:
"it is an increasingly”content, not containers” world now. Love it or hate it, it's where we are now and it has to be effectively dealt with. People (aka patrons aka consumers aka customers) don’t give a hoot if they get what they want from the local library, from Amazon or from iTunes."

Mmmm...Fast Company and Normative Data. Good stuff 'round them places! :)

What this needs is a few people putting their heads together, finding what to agree on and coming up with some solid info/ideas. Wait, that’s what this is!

That is the second time someone has mentioned that comment problem, C. I'll look into it. Perhaps is your comments weren't so profanity laden? I'll post this conversation as a comment though. Thanks for following up. Good to hear from you!

Posted by: CJ (then MP) at July 1, 2006 03:39 PM