Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Open Letter to Netflix Korea

Dear Netflix Korea,

I am upset because of you today. As you probably know, after a long day at work, people like to blow off steam and just relax. Back in the day, I used to go on pub crawls with friends but I don't do that anymore. I don't recover from hangovers quite like the way I used to, you see. These days, after work, I like to come home to watch movies or TV shows on your streaming website.

I am a man of simple tastes. A few David Attenborough-narrated documentaries, new episodes of Better Call Saul and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and a few movies here and there to help me take my mind off reality for an hour or two - these are the kinds of things that I like. Now combine that with a bottle of Guinness and, boy, at least for an hour or two out of my day, I'm as happy as a clam.

When you guys started doing business in Korea earlier this year, I knew that I wasn't going to get as many movies or TV shows like my friends do in America. I knew that licensing, bureaucratic red tape, captioning, translating, and all of that legal mumbo jumbo were going to make things slow at first. But I signed up for an account anyway because I remembered that I enjoyed using your service way back in the day when I was still in college - before Netflix started streaming and was still mailing DVDs to customers. So, you know, let this be the first lesson: customer and brand loyalty are vital.

As time went on, as I knew it would happen, more and more shows got added to Netflix Korea. Granted, I've either already seen them before or I didn't care for a lot of the shows. I'm sorry, but Zeitgeist is as much a documentary as I am a Miss Korea contestant. But occasionally, there would be a few shows that I really enjoyed. House of Cards and Brooklyn Nine-Nine were very nice additions. And so were Planet Earth and The Blue Planet. You guys even added Timur Vermes' Look Who's Back!

But today, without so much as a warning or a notice of any kind whatsoever, quite a few of those shows that I was watching or were about to watch were suddenly removed from your library. That was quite rude of you.

I've been a very understanding customer. I've been understanding that my options would be much more limited than your American customers are accustomed to and I've understood that it would take longer for the shows to arrive. But to have been given access to those shows, and then suddenly have them taken away from me without so much as an explanation despite the fact that I am a paying customer... well, how would YOU feel if you were me? If your answer is not "miffed," or any other synonymous words, you'd be wrong or lying.

Even if you had made an announcement beforehand, or left a note on the website afterwards, I would have still been annoyed, but I wouldn't have been this upset. This is why customer service is very important. Lesson two, guys. Customer service is very important. And you guys screwed it up.

I would like for you to appreciate the fact that I am writing this open letter to you guys. Typically, if I am unhappy with a business, I don't complain. I just don't go back. Considering the other options I have, I often think that complaining is a waste of time when I can just simply go elsewhere. That's why I haven't been to McDonald's since 2007. The fact that I am penning this letter shows that I really like your business. So read on because the next bit is related to what I just said.

I'm a free market kind of guy. So I fully understand that I do not have the right to your services. I cannot make demands that you are unable or unwilling to meet precisely because I have no right to your time or your services. As a paying customer, I only have the privilege. But similarly, you do not have the right to my money either. My money is mine to spend and I can spend my money, or not spend my money, in any way I please.

At this point, I would like to remind you that you aren't dealing with an American customer who has no choice but to put up with his shitty cable company that provides Internet speeds that haven't updated much since the early 2000s. I am a Korean customer who has Internet speeds so fast that if I chose to torrent all four seasons of House of Cards, it wouldn't take me more than half an hour. And it wouldn't cost me any money at all.

Personally, I don't like to torrent movies or TV shows. There's the potential of infecting my computer with viruses and even if there aren't any viruses; I don't like taking up that much space on my hard drive for things that I will only watch once. So, I don't want to waste my money buying external hard drives for something so frivolous either. And as someone who thinks that thievery and piracy are immoral, I really feel like a hypocrite when I torrent something.

However, I think the important thing here for you to know is that I've got lots of options to choose from. And so does every one else in Korea. Some who might not share my sense of morals.

I like Netflix. I really do. And as I said, I'm understanding. I'm not asking you to make every single movie or TV show that you have in your database to be made available right now. That would be unreasonable and I am not an unreasonable person. All I am asking for is a little courtesy. An explanation of why some shows were suddenly removed or a generic statement regarding when you anticipate those shows might return, if they will return, is the LEAST FUCKING THING THAT YOU CAN DO!

Consider this as strike one, Netflix Korea. So, please, don't screw over your Korean customers. It's not very nice.

The Korean Foreigner


  1. Yeah, I'm pretty friggen pissed about this too. As soon as I finished one show, I'd only be getting my money's worth to make a start on the next one I had been excited about for weeks. But oh, it's suddenly gone... How about the one I started a while ago and may as well continue? What, it suddenly won't play for some mysterious reason, despite showing up in my search??? Fine... I'll start something that looks interesting. Oh... I have to verify my age (22) with a phone number... but I can't, because I'm a foreigner, so my phone number doesn't count as that of an official citizen... so I can only watch shows available to children. Okay. Now I'm more than just pissed. But hey, I could just use a VPN and watch Netflix from home, right? Oh no wait, Netflix blocked those.
    So yeah, I feel how frustrated you must be about this.

  2. I've been told there was some.....issue behind the scenes with the Korean content ratings board. Everything is showing up on a delay in Korea since then.

  3. im pretty bummed out about this too. I thought I'd be able to watch all the shows.... but no..