Netflix prices are going up - is this a deal breaker for you?
First, they're launching (or re-launching) DVD-only plans: $7.99 for one DVD out at a time, $11.99 for two DVDs out at a time.
Second, they're splitting up the DVD and streaming plans, and charging more for each. $7.99 for DVDs (one at a time), $7.99 for unlimited streaming, get both for a combined price of $15.98.
My current plan is two DVDs at a time + streaming. I currently pay $14.99, but in September it's going up to $19.98.
(Plans for 3 or 4 DVDs + streaming will continue to be available, for $23.98/month and $29.98/month)
The blog post on the subject says it's in response to the continuing demand for DVDs from their members:
That last part I actually understand, as Netflix wanted to offer streaming from the start but the technology at the time wouldn't allow it. Streaming is far cheaper than sending out DVDs, even with all the licensing fees they have to pay.
Offering streaming as a free add-on to their existing plans was a way to get people to try it, like it, and I guess eventually drop the DVD option. I've certainly seen a lot of people who have switched to a streaming-only plan, questioning why anyone would still continue to get DVDs when there's so much content streaming.
However, not everything is available on Netflix streaming yet, which is the primary reason I maintain a DVD account (for example, before Scream 4 came out my boyfriend and I wanted to watch the first three movies but they were not streaming so we had to get the discs, and the same goes for the original Fright Night, despite the remake coming out in theaters soon). Additionally, I imagine there are people who continue to get DVDs because their Internet connection isn't entirely reliable, or who like to get DVDs because they can take them places they can't stream (like say, kiddie DVDs for long car rides).
Most of the comments on the blog post are understandably annoyed, with even a few pointing out that it's crazy to jack up prices during an economic downturn. I'm a bit annoyed too, mostly because I've been trying to cut costs, but it's not really that bad, because once they jack up the prices, I'll be paying the same amount for a Netflix account with DVDs and streaming that I was paying six years ago for just DVDs. The prices of Netflix plans have actually come down since the service started, and this increase is really just bringing them back up, but the difference now is that there's a lot more content.
And it's still cheaper than cable.
I live way out in the boonies and we get our internet service through a local wireless provider. Our rate rarely exceeds 1Mbps, which is fine for streaming a show in low-def. It's a terrible option for watching a blockbuster movie on a big screen though, which is a big part of why we have a 2 DVD+Streaming plan (+Blu-Ray). We don't have cable (it isn't even offered out here) so streaming is a great way for our kids to have access to children's programming they otherwise wouldn't. The DVDs/Blu-Rays let us really take advantage of our home theater system. Our current $17.99 plan is going to get jacked up by $5 (over 28%!).
I'll swallow this pill because it is still cheaper than getting a dish ($45 / mo) or driving into town to rent ($5 + gas). I do think this opens a door for competitors though, like Hulu+, Red Box and Blockbuster online.
What stings the most, though, is the completely disingenuous tone the blog post takes in an attempt to spin this as "lowest prices ever" and "great value to our current and future DVDs by mail members". There is no way to retain your same level of service and get a lower price with these changes. The only option is to either reduce your level of service (drop DVDs or drop streaming) to get a $2 price break, or spend significantly more to keep your current level of service.
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However, people got used to the great value, and now the bill is being sent, they are justifiably upset. Netflix needed to either raised the prices more gradually, or throw the studios under the bus. Which is what the studios deserve, because it is where the price increases are coming from. Netflix's first round of streaming contracts are coming to an end, and now that the studios realize (DUH!) that people want instant on-demand streaming content, they will extract a kings ransom from poor Netflix.
I think I will keep up my Netflix subscription, if just to support them against them studios. I feel like Netflix is representing the consumers interests. Netflix gave us a large (yet limited) library on a veritable fleet of devices, without charging a dime. If it was up to studios, I bet the customer would never get instant streaming access without buying a personal license, which could only be used on two devices, with less than three people in the room, after 8Pm on weekdays, with only one piece of content streamed on the weekend.
I'd rather pay a few more dollars to Netflix for what they have to offer than pay Hulu $10/mo to watch ads that are 25-40% louder than the TV show we're watching.
If people are going to get annoyed, they really should be more annoyed at the way our cost of living is shooting upward by companies selling us less food for the same price. At least Netflix offers transparency (for a non-essential service, no less).
While Netflix has been adding streaming content, they have also lengthened the time it takes for at least some dvd's to become available after their release for people to buy. So some may consider this a price increase for the larger streaming library, I feel like I have already paid for this. (due to the increased amount of time for new release discs).
As for older titles, I have been getting an increasing number of discs that do not play or skip, stutter, etc in any of my dvd players causing me to have extra delays in the shipment of dvds.
So I guess I feel like I'm being forced into paying more for no extra service...give me an extra disc or do something to make me feel like the price increase is justified...
Also interesting the DVD's that netflix sends you are different than if you went to the store and bought the DVD. Many of the extra scenes are no longer available.
I certainly don't blame netflix for the amount of time moves take from their warehouse to me. I blame them for 2 other delays:
1. Older titles that are scratched/damaged that have to be returned and resent.
2. New movie delays that were agreed to in order to get additional streaming content without paying more money to studios (source: www.techdirt.com/articles/20100409/0940078951.shtm... )
Sure it's only 5 bucks... but that's not the point. Existing users should have been grandfathered in under the rate in which they were paying. Screwing existing users isn't always a good idea. The Netflix blog comments indicate that.
5 bucks is to me a 30% increase. That's a little too much of an increase. I will miss the convenience, but we get HBO/Starz at home. Much of the streaming content is on one of those channels and HBO Go is fantastic for mobile devices. Not on a big screen...
Not grandfathering can work to the customer's benefit sometimes, though: when prices go down, your rate goes down automatically. Many services that do grandfather will lower prices but "neglect" to notify current customers that they could be paying less, allowing them to continue to pay the higher price (T-Mobile did this to me for a while).
However, I agree that the increase is huge. I wish they would offer some kind of "discount" for people who do DVDs + streaming.
The cost as I see it:
RedBox - $1 a day
NetFlix - $16 a month
Blockbuster - $5 7 day rental
So as much as a Netflix doesn't feel like a deal any more - I feel it is still a deal compared to all of its competitors.
I don't blame Netflix- theres really nothing they can do to change studios' minds. If I suddenly get the urge to have a Doctor Who marathon I'll just resub for a month.
Hooray for no contracts!
I'm definitely not happy with the price hike. I'm not happy enough with the scope of content on the streaming side of Netflix to pay for it. And I don't make the time to sit down and watch DVD movies quite often enough. I was already thinking of dropping the service entirely. I'm definitely not interested in paying more for a service from which I already wasn't getting my money's worth.
I'm cancelling Netflix immediately.
Basically, no one likes to pay more, but the value is still pretty dang good, and the people who are hysterically rage quitting really make /facepalm. Where are you going to go to get the same value and service?
Well... nowhere, now! ;-)
I bet a lot of mom & pop DVD rental stores are quietly cheering right now.
I am really torn as to what to do. I already have Amazon Prime, so I am going to check the free streaming catalog there to see if any of the TV series we are watching over streaming happen to be available. If so, I may switch Netflix to DVD and just use the free Prime streaming. If not, I will probably just drop the DVDs and move on. It's just entertainment anyway, right? Very little of this content is really making the world a better place in general, so I am sure I'll survive without it.
I have an incredibly strong feeling these slightly higher prices will eventually lead to more, and greater, content available instantly for streaming. The fact is, $9/month was a steal, we all know it. $16/month allows Netflix to make more substantial profits and offer us (the consumer) more content.
I Still have basic cable and Netflix was a nice add-on instead of subscribing to the premium channels(HBO,Cinemax,etc) But the price keeps going up what the point?
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