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kris

Netflix prices are going up - is this a deal breaker for you?

Netflix announced today that they're changing up their pricing scheme.

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:

blog.netflix.com­/2011­/07­/netflix­-introduces­-new­-pl...

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.
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kris' pick
jademason

This move isn't a deal-breaker for me, but I'm certainly not happy about it. For me, this is a $5 / mo price increase with no increase in the service I receive.

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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gkenyon

I think the one thing that makes this hurt more than it should is how good of a deal it was previously. The first time I ever streamed something in HD over my Tivo, without any price increase whatsoever, I felt like I was stealing. I couldn't believe I was getting something so awesome, something that felt like the future, for no price increase whatsoever. I had to convince my parents I wasn't doing anything illegal the first time I showed them!

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.
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Pusta

I'll have to take a look at how many DVDs I watch a month. With the difference in price between Streaming only ($8) and streaming + DVD ($16), if I watch less than 7 DVDs a month, it would be cheaper to just get the streaming and then hit up Redbox for the occasional DVD.
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leigh

I think that Netflix has offered a great service for reasonable prices since day one. That they are making changes that will make it a bit more expensive... I don't have a problem with it. At least they are putting it out in front of us so that we, as customers, can make the decision if it's worth it to us or not.

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).
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JVChuy

I just looked at my DVD Activity on Netflix. I had each of my last two "1-DVD a month" DVDs for 3 months each. Clearly It's not worth it for me to get both services, so i'll be switching to Streaming only by august. But before I do, I'll try to watch all the DVDs I can't get from RedBox. I'll keep my budget at $9.99 and use the extra $2.00 for RedBox rentals. I could get a total of 7 RedBox rentals for less than what the new plans would cost me!
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frankspin

Already moved mine from 1 disc/month + streaming to streaming only. Looks like I'll be even more selective in my blu-ray viewing.
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Scottish

I actually intend, if I can convince the wife, to drop streaming. The streaming library is still incredibly weak, and the real value of Netflix, to me, is getting access to hard-to-find DVDs. We could even up our disc plan from 2 at a time to 3 and not pay more than what we're currently paying.
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SmartFah

I was thinking of dropping the DVD plan anyway & just stick with streaming. Guess this has made my decision easier.
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thechad

I'm dropping from 1 disc + streaming to streaming only..
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...
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webpoet73

I will probably drop the streaming because it doesn't even compare to Blu-ray discs... streaming is convenient, Blu-ray is quality... and I chose quality over convenience.

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...
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bkim

I was happy with the $9.99 plan (1DVD + streaming). The new pricing plan has annoyed me enough to cancel my account entirely. Admittedly, I didn't find the time to watch the DVDs or stream that much, so it wasn't that hard for me to cancel. $9.99 was cheap enough for me to pay monthly and know the option to watch was there.
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rcornwell

I changed to streaming only some time back. I occasionally regret not having the DVD option, however, I still have a local brink and mortar rental place if I really need it. I won't be dropping Netflix any time soon.
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radione

I don't mind it, but I have experienced several things disappearing from instant streaming that were previously there. It was always nice to know that the DVD was still usually an option when that happened. If it happens now, or the streaming catalog increase starts to slow down now I'll be pissed. I hope it gives them solid numbers on where the interest is, but I would think they could get that data from usage already so I am concerned it provides less incentive for them to increase the streaming catalog.
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dmsilva

I am in agreement with the change personally. My hope is, with the small increase in price, there will be more options in the future in relation to streamed content. Such as, more immediate availability of new content, higher quality of content, and a larger library of streamed content!
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Jdsteven

Suddenly, Netflix doesn't feel like a deal anymore, and I'm totally reconsidering my media consumption habits. It was easy enough to cut out cable to switch to Netflix, and We've found plenty of good shows from BBC etc. to fill the void. Pretty sure we can find another way without Netflix.
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MasterSystem

I just canceled my service today. I don't use it as much as I used to (streaming or DVDs), and instant queue isn't what it used to be.

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!
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odderret

It sucks that there is a price hike, but it is still just about the price of a single ticket to one movie in the theaters. It's always open and there are NO ADS (read better than HULU PLUS)... Netflix is still the best thing going for when you need a Bluray to enjoy the full cinematic experience or if you just you want to gorge on a whole series. Arrested Development marathon anyone? Netflix is on every iDevice and more and more Android so you can hit up an episode on your commute.
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mglipford

The value proposition of Netflix for me has always come down to how much I use it. Which makes sense.

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.
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gkenyon

A funny website I enjoy had a good post about the issue:

kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com­/2011­/07­/this­-week­-in­-...

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?
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stalky14

I'll probably drop to stream-only, since we only use the DVD option to fill in gaps.

I bet a lot of mom & pop DVD rental stores are quietly cheering right now.
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beau

Will almost certainly drop streaming for disc only. I like the bigger catalog there.
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groovechicken

First off, Redbox is not a good option for those of us who could care less about new movies and are trying to catch up on years of missed movies or share old faves with the family.

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.
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doctorb

I had already been thinking about going to stream only plan as it is by far the majority of my Netflix use. This pretty much seals the deal. I'll definitely be thinking about this till the price change hits and then make my decision.
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redsox395

I don't mind it. When it comes down to it, the $16/month is still only about 10% of what my monthly cable bill was, with the added perk that I can literally watch almost any movie I want (either through streaming or disks).

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.
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eawortman

Seems a little screwed up to jack the prices of their existing customers as they loose more and more content for streaming. Maybe they are trying to get us to cancel our DVD/Blu-Ray subscriptions.
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baileylo

I've had streaming only for quite a while now and constantly find myself wanting videos that are not on streaming. I'm not technically effected by this price increase, but I find my less tempted to opt into the DVD by mail option.
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DuhhUhh

Not happy here either. If they would have raised the price $1-2 I think everybody wouldn't be so pissed. Makes me think Netflix might be hurting for cash. They just spent a ton of money on exclusive rights to Madmen and House of Cards.

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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yoflores

Just cancelled my 20 years old subscription.

Redbox+Amazon
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