Netflix is telling the truth. The rights were pulled before her death
This is one of those embarrassing posts you never want to write. My post about Netflix losing streaming rights to The Bodyguard
after Whitney Houston's death was 100% accurate. It was also 100% wrong. The rep I spoke to and his two supervisors had bad information.
On Feb 18 I noticed that The Bodyguard
had been pulled from streaming on Netflix. (http://goo.gl/6hmAz
) There are a lot of complaints on their site about it: http://goo.gl/KTV40
and many said that the movie was streamable prior to Whitney Houston's death.
I know that Netflix moderates comments on their movie listings so a Netflix employee approved these posts complaining about the streaming rights being yanked.
So I called Netflix and asked when and why the movie was no longer streaming.
The rep checked with two supervisors and said that the rights had been pulled after Whitney's passing and that it was done by the rights holder so they could sell more DVDs. I quoted the rep accurately. I checked it three times and what I wrote is exactly what he said.
Unfortunately the rep and his supervisors were wrong.
After I posted the account here on Google+ it went completely viral. Techmeme picked it up and someone posted it on Reddit where as I write this it is the #2 link on their site.
Then I got an email from Andrew Couts saying that Netflix was refuting my post. They said that they lost the rights at the end of last year. I told Andrew that what I wrote was correct and that I accurately quoted the Netflix rep. In fact I checked the quote three times.
But now I was worried that the rep had been wrong. I then did what I hadn't thought to do previously: do a Google search for cached pages of the movie and check the dates.
If you check any date in December 2011 or earlier, you see the movie available for streaming: http://goo.gl/PSKUi
But as of January 1, 2012 the movie is only available on DVD: http://goo.gl/816b0
I wish I had thought to do this before the post. It just honestly didn't occur to me.
The fact that so many commenters reported seeing it available for streaming right before her death and the fact that the rep spoke to two supervisors and specifically said that the rights were pulled after her death was enough I thought. But if I had thought to check the cache files I wouldn't have proven them wrong.
I humbly apologize.