Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Netflix by zip

It's been rough for Netflix lately. Subscriptions are down, its stock price tanked (I sold last year, phew) and its Web site was out of commission for most of the past 24 hours.

Yet I continue to subscribe. One of the enjoyable features of Netflix.com is Local Favorites, however unscientific or rigged it may be. You can search top rentals per zip code (although it's really by city, as you'll see if you target different zips in the same city). For whatever reason, I get a kick out of it. I think one's taste in movies says more about a person than most anything else -- one of my first questions upon meeting someone is "What's your favorite movie?" and I never take "I don't have a favorite..." as an answer -- so I delight in discovering the top rentals for certain neighborhoods of the country. Some seem a little obvious, though...

The top three rentals in my current zip of 20009 in the Adams Morgan 'hood of D.C.? The War Room, Our Brand Is Crisis and Primary Colors.

The top rental in my old zip of 10128 on the Upper East Side? Old Acquaintance (the 1943 Bette Davis movie based on the John Van Druten play that is currently revived on Broadway with Harriet Harris), Talk Radio (whose stage version just finished a run on Broadway) and the eight-disc series New York.

Savannah's watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Chicago has Northside 777 at the top of its collective queue. The top rental in my hometown of Buffalo, N.Y.? Buffalo '66. It's all too obvious, right? Not if you go to spots two and three on the Buffalo list: The Caine Mutiny and Angels in the Outfield.

Let's play a game! Here are five cities: Beverly Hills (90210). Corpus Christi, Texas (78407). Charleston, W. Va. (25312). Cheyenne, Wyo. (82001). Brunswick, Maine (04011). Below are five sets of top-three movies. Match the city to the corresponding top three. Not as easy now, is it? Answers in the comments section.

Naked Lunch, Life as a House, S.W.A.T. = A schizoid taste in cinema -- Cronenberg, Kleenex and Colin?
Avenue Montaigne, Wordplay, All the President's Men = A hotbed of cultured urbanity venerating the art of words and the word of art.
Stargate Atlantis: Season 2, The Rundown, Fingersmith = Home to nerds, wrestling fans and appreciators of lesbian-tinged British serial television.
Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ella Enchanted, Practical Magic = A town obsessed with fantasies both earthly and supernatural.
Double Jeopardy, History of the World: Part I, One Night with the King = These folks are watching Ashley Judd thrillers, Mel Brooks and the coming of age of Esther, Queen of Persia.


J.J. said...

Beverly Hills 90210: Avenue Montaigne, Worldplay, All the President's Men

Cheyenne 82001: Double Jeopardy, History of the World: Part I, One Night with the King

Corpus Christi 78407: Naked Lunch, Life as a House, S.W.A.T.

Brunswick, Maine 04011: Thoroughly Modern Mille, Ella Enchanted, Practical Magic

Charleston, W. Va. 25312: Stargate Atlantis: Season 2, The Rundown, Fingersmith

Anna said...

Now that's interesting - movie habits by zip-code. How about by red state or blue state?

And why is Nflix suffering? BBuster competition?

J.J. said...

Netflix is suffering because of a drop in subscriptions and, therefore, revenue. Maybe we can attribute that to Blockbuster's crusade to compete, or to the novelty wearing off. After a while, $20 a month for something you don't use constantly starts to add up.

StinkyLulu said...

I think Netflix'll stabilize, largely because of consumers like me...stuck in the sticks with particular niche-ish tastes. I'd still put my money on Netflix over BB.

But what a great post.

My region has a definite latin tinge, privileging movies about NM, which makes sense. The top 5 are The Milagro Beanfield War; George Lopez: Why You Crying?; Carlos Mencia: Not for the Easily Offended; Tortilla Soup; Off the Map.