No USPS Saturday mail delivery? No problem for Netflix customers

Netflix customers nervous about end of Saturday mail deliveryIf you wound back the clock five years and the United States Post Office (USPS) was lobbying to end Saturday mail delivery, you'd probably see small business owners and a few others upset about the change. But now that over 10 million subscribers count on Netflix to deliver an astonishing 1.9 million DVDs a day, those customers are concerned about losing their Saturday night entertainment.

In case you missed it, the USPS has formally asked its regulatory body to weigh in on its proposed cost-cutting measure of moving to a five-days-a-week mail delivery schedule, a transition which the Postal Service would like to see happen in the 2011 fiscal year. While the change is still a ways off and needs congressional approval, many consumers are wondering what this means for Netflix and other mail delivery entertainment services like GameFly.

While MSNBC's The Big Money reports that the proposed changes could force Netflix to choose between speedy delivery and affordability if mail service is cut down to five days, in the end the company and its customers should be fine. Here's why.

  • There are already unions and politicians opposing the switch to five-day delivery, so it is not a done deal.
  • If the change does indeed happen, it is unlikely that it will have a major effect on the price of Netflix rentals due to the fact that it is the postal service's biggest customer and the postal service knows nobody wants to pay more for shipping.
  • Users can stream content via Netflix Watch Instantly if they are stuck without a disc on a Saturday. With streaming now available on all current game consoles, many Blu-ray players and rumored to arrive on the iPad, there are more ways than ever to enjoy a flick.
  • If you really want to get your mail on Saturday you can get a post office box. That's right; under the current proposal, mail would still be transported and delivered to post offices on Saturday, which means you can pick up your disc at the local post office. If you decide not to get a box, you can rest assured that your next movie is continuing its journey to your DVD player over the weekend, even if it won't hit your mailbox until Monday.
  • As Michael Patcher tells Cnet's Media Maverick, "I don't think most people would care." Consumers will adjust to the change and send movies back earlier in the week to make sure their new rentals are received by Friday.
  • If all else fails, there's always Redbox. The nearly ubiquitous movie-rental kiosks are already the perfect companion to a Netflix subscription, thanks to their low cost and continuous coupon codes; it makes sense that consumers will rely on the kiosks more if there is no Saturday delivery. Who knows? Consumers may even win big if Netflix and Redbox join forces and offer consumers an integrated experience where a movie can be returned for a Redbox rental!
In the end, consumers will still find a way to get their movies and games, no matter what the USPS does.

WalletPop reached out to both Netflix and GameFly and received a "No comment" on the situation from both companies, citing the early status of the current five-day delivery proposal.

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