Have you ever felt like you're not getting all that you could out of your $8/month Netflix subscription? Well, comedian and provocateur Mark Malkoff felt the same way, so he set out in April to watch at least 250 films from Netflix's streaming library in less than 30 days. His stated goal: To get "more value from [his] money than any customer in Netflix history."
It would appear, now that his 30 days are up, that he did just that. Malkoff ended up watching 252 movies on Netflix Instant in the 30 days of his experiment, which means that he spent about 3.2 cents per film during that month of his subscription.
Malkoff documented his progress watching 8-10 streaming movies per day on his blog, where you can also find the list of 252 movies he ended up watching. (From #1, "The Graduate," to #252, "Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade"). Malkoff estimates that he spent 404.25 hours over 30 days in Netflix's streaming catalogue, which I estimate to be 404.25 hours of his life that he will never get back.
Below, you can watch a spiffy little short video Malkoff put together showcasing his quest, from the highlights ("Andrew McCarthy showed up to talk about 'St. Elmo's Fire'!") to the lowlights ("Weight gain and marital strain!"). Enjoy this clip that is not 400 hours long:
You might recognize Malkoff, by the way, from his past stunts: He has lived in both an Ikea store and on-board an AirTran jet; he has attempted to get thrown out of an Apple store by having pizza delivered there and bringing in a live goat; and in a moment of protest against the slowness of Manhattan buses, he raced a bus across town on a child's tricycle, defeating the bus by about three minutes.
This stunt -- sort of a less disgusting version of the movie "Super Size Me" (not available for streaming from Netflix Instant!) -- was less confrontational than previous efforts. The corporate Netflix Twitter seemed to endorse Malkoff's mission, though a Netflix spokesperson told me that the company had "nothing to do with his experiment." I'm sure Reed Hastings and co. don't mind the attention that Malkoff is bringing to the Netflix streaming library, however, whose quality and depth is a consistent point of contention among tech pundits, financial analysts, and website commenters alike.
Whatever you personally think about the quality of Netflix's catalogue, it seems as though subscribers sure enjoy it: Netflix recently became the Internet's largest online movie service, surpassing iTunes. Mark Malkoff, in his 400+ hour journey to the outer limits of Netflix-watching, just might have done more than any single person to make that happen.