Live Gold is required for doing almost ANYTHING on the xbox. It's the number one reason I don't buy xbox games anymore.
Right now, everything is so tightly coupled with Live Gold that not using gold results in a very aggravating experience. Your statement 'mainly Netflix et al' vastly understates that almost any feature that is not a single player game or dvd requires a Live Gold account. Youtube, HBOgo, Netflix, Pandora...
The way you learn about gold is annoying as well. I'll be looking around the marketplace, find a service that I ALREADY PAY FOR, install it, and then later be told that 'Oh, this feature won't work without gold'
That doesn't even get into the fact that there are many games where you basically gut the game if you remove multiplayer. As a result the entire experience is one of disappointment as I'm continually faced with 'Oh, I guess that would be nice, or gee I wish I could play this with my friend'.
I'm not going to reward a company for rent-seeking to provide me services that 1. I already pay for, 2. I'm paying for the internet to transport the data.
The Live Gold 'feature' is the number one reason I regret purchasing an Xbox and only use it to play single player games I pickup at the flea market.