Hefty Netflix price increase

Hefty Netflix price increase

Jim Donahue
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 15:34

12 Jul 2011, 19:04 #1

Just got notice from Netflix that rates are going up--DVDs and streaming will be counted as separate plans:
Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

   Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
   Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.
I do use both, so I don't want to cancel one. But a 60% price hike, essentially? Seriously???

My cable bill just went up a lot, too, as a special deal I was on ran out. I don't feel like bouncing around to other providers--that's just a pain in the ass.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
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Chris Stangl
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 16:37

12 Jul 2011, 22:20 #2

Well, this finally motivated me to cancel all Netflix streaming. My Internet service is simply too poor for streaming movies to work at all, so I had been paying for streaming without using it for a year. I'm also happy to stop participating in encouraging streaming video over tangible media — I just don't trust it.

In terms of the number of discs I actually end up watching a month (usually 8, 0 at worst, 12 at max), the pricing ends up about the same as old tyme video rental shops, if not more. Were there a remotely acceptable mom and pop video shoppe anywhere near my neighborhood, I'd be jumping off the Netflix Express immediately. But there is not, and so I ride on.
Movies and black coffee: The Exploding Kinetoscope
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Marc McCloud
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Joined: 20 Nov 2004, 16:33

13 Jul 2011, 02:41 #3

I've already have had two emails today about how they will be renting from me exclusively. This news, along with FIVE Blockbusters in my town of 70,000 hanging by a thread, 2011 could end up much better than I thought it would.
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Bill Picard
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 03:09

13 Jul 2011, 04:29 #4

I'm with Chris. As of September 1 I'm done with streaming.
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 02:35

13 Jul 2011, 05:14 #5

Yeah, i think I'll be ending streaming on Sep 1, also.
"I'm nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I've begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I'm reminiscing this right now. I can't go to the bar because I've already looked back on it in my memory... and I didn't have a good time."
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James Cheney
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 02:43

13 Jul 2011, 06:12 #6

I've heaped up humungous portions of steaming, streaming Netflix the past several months fearing this would happen and wanting my fill and then some. I won't exhaust every last thing I want to watch before September, and I'll miss the odd items unavailable on DVD, but I'll get over it.

I recommend the 2 dvds at a time deal. It's cheaper than what I'm currently paying for combined service.

Next up in my involuntary home video 12 step program: giving up the movie tier on cable. I guess I could read the calendars for the channels involved and find what films being played are also offered by my diminished Netflix account ...but that sounds like a sweaty addict speaking as withdrawal threatens. I'll shake the MGM Lion off my back, go cold turkey, I swear! This economic patch we're going through may not afford me the luxury of doing otherwise and may make a confirmed Iconoclast out of me yet.
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Peter Nepstad
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Joined: 23 Oct 2004, 14:20

13 Jul 2011, 14:32 #7

This one is a tough call for me. Streaming is great for if you don't have something specific in mind for what you want to watch, but then getting the DVDs out helped me to grab the shows that I really wanted to watch but weren't available on streaming.

That said, I've got 400 items in my streaming queue, and 27 in my DVD queue, so I'll be dropping the physical DVDs. If I want a rental of a new hit movie, I can hit a local Redbox.

This also frees me (and other consumers) up to consider Netflix alternatives like Hulu Plus. The addition of the physical discs was the killer app that make Netflix superior to the alternatives. With that gone, its whatever has more of the type of show you like.

I imagine if I had cable I might go the other way, but I don't, not even basic. So streaming on Netflix and Hulu is how we watch TV, and $10 bucks a month is a pretty good deal for that.

But man, I really have to get through the rest of the Sharpe series before September? I'm only on 11 (Sharpe's Mission)!
<a href="http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/cinema">The Illuminated Lantern</a>
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Jim Donahue
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 15:34

13 Jul 2011, 18:55 #8

It's been odd watching the Netflix-related posts on Twitter swing from about 95% anti-Netflix and 5% "Hey, it's just business" yesterday to about 50/50--maybe even 40/60.
People need to calm down about this NetFlix pricing "hike." &#036;16 for hours of entertainment per month is still a great deal, people.
I'm not clear on why &#036;10 to &#036;16 is a "hike" and not a hike.
This whole Netflix thing is a travesty. I hope people can pull together and cope with the unfairness of having to pay for entertainment.
I was unaware I'd been getting it free all these years.
the #netflix price bump isn't that bad, It breaks down to 53 cents a day you need to save. If you can't do that you don't deserve it.
Wow, I guess I should send a thank you note, then.

Yeah, all told, it's not a terrible deal. I think the obnoxious tone of the email from Netflix pissed me off as much as the price hike, if not more. But the fact that folks are upset that consumers are voicing displeasure about a 60% hike is bewildering to me.

Also, I just realized that I only got the unlimited, one-at-a-time DVD plan in order to get the streaming. I never, ever get more than two DVDs a month, and there's also a &#036;5-a-month plan in which you get two disks. So, if I keep streaming, that comes to &#036;13 a month combined (streaming is &#036;8). A 30% price hike hurts 50% less than a 60% price hike.
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 02:35

14 Jul 2011, 00:44 #9

To me, the selection makes it an obvious choice to favor DVDs over streaming... Streaming does have the ocassional exclusive (which is frustrating even now when I HAVE streaming, because I want a couple of those on DVD), but they have tons more films on DVD than streaming.
"I'm nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I've begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I'm reminiscing this right now. I can't go to the bar because I've already looked back on it in my memory... and I didn't have a good time."
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Hal Horn
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Joined: 15 Dec 2004, 16:51

14 Jul 2011, 12:32 #10

I'll be keeping streaming. Too many good rarities there.
Check out the full length versions of all of my reviews at:

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David Austin
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Joined: 25 Oct 2004, 19:18

14 Jul 2011, 14:41 #11

Have they made any statements about using the additional revenue to increase streaming licenses? Because that would make sense. Otherwise, there is just not enough available streaming material for them to compete with Hulu or other services.
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Rob Peace
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Joined: 11 Nov 2004, 01:12

14 Jul 2011, 17:07 #12

It's an easy adjustment for me. I've been on the 3 discs at a time program, and will be reducing to 2 discs plus streaming. My monthly fee will go down by a dollar.
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Lenny Moore
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 01:32

14 Jul 2011, 20:14 #13

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Chris Stangl
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 16:37

15 Jul 2011, 09:35 #14

So Let Me Get This Straight... This blog entry summed up the bulk of my gut reactions to the first wave of bitching about the price hike. More eloquently, a number of cooler heads invoked Louis C.K.: Everything's amazing right now and nobody's happy.

So the outrage spreading across Twitter was hilarious and fascinating and came in a few flavors.
1. CANCEL MEMBERSHIP! BOYCOTT! Netflix is abusing me, I don't want to pay more...
... no matter what that increase might be, or why, or if the service is still a good value. This is a pretty transparently knee-jerk reaction, and easily dismissed. Plenty of people are discovering that once they stop and think about the options they actually want and use, and adjust their plan, they end up paying LESS. Indeed, everything's amazing, nobody's happy.

2. Ha ha, who cares, I just download torrents for free!
Now MHVF policy obviously prevents endorsement of that sentiment, but what kind of short-sighted entitled idiot thinks this way? Thousands of Tweeters, apparently, bragging under their real names that they steal digital media. Now moral issues aside (hey, it's the 21st Century! I can just say "moral issues aside" and they go away like THAT!), I'm baffled that these people I) are so blinkered they don't acknowledge "downloading for free" as stealing, and II) don't understand that when you steal from a business it has to raise prices, increase loss prevention measures and/or eventually close shop. i.e. if everyone steals all their entertainment content, entertainment producers and distributors will go out of business and won't make movies/music/games/comics to steal. I know you guys grasp this, but for God's sake...

3. Netflix, for &#036;7 you best make EVERY MOVIE available streaming!
Yes, I'm sure they would like to, but that is not up to them. As we've noted above, coping with studio streaming licenses is a major chunk of Netflix's operating costs. I do seriously doubt that Netflix will try to explain this or attribute the price hike to licensing fees. Surely this is the case, but it might sound like finger pointing and blame-dodging, since so many consumers clearly do not understand this factor.

4. Screw Netflix, they just sent me into the arms of Redbox.

Seriously, soooo many people are indicating that Redbox is a MORE than adequate substitute for Netflix. Now folks, there's the fully stocked BevMo! and wine cellar over here, and on the other side of the street a Coke machine with nothing but TaB and Fanta in it. I dunno how other customers are using Netflix, but that people can even find something in a Redbox that vaguely interests them is baffling.
Movies and black coffee: The Exploding Kinetoscope
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 02:35

15 Jul 2011, 16:03 #15

Plenty of people are discovering that once they stop and think about the options they actually want and use, and adjust their plan, they end up paying LESS
Oh? Certainly not me. It's actually 60% MORE to my bill, basically forcing me to choose between them and give up streaming, which sucks because I was enjoying both services. Not so hillarious to me. :/

And people saying they that if Netflix is going to make such a dramatic price increase, they expect to see it yield dramatically better selection sounds like they do have at least a reasonable idea of licensing fees. They want a large chunk of the increased revenue to go towards those fees... makes sense to me. Though, as you say, I doubt that will actually wind up happening.

As for customers switching to Redbox, I agree except I'm sure many people (though none of us here!) have no interest in renting films beyond just picking up the few most mainstream new releases anyway, so Redbox wouldn't be any kind of absurd step down for them but a reasonable decision.
"I'm nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I've begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I'm reminiscing this right now. I can't go to the bar because I've already looked back on it in my memory... and I didn't have a good time."
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Chris Stangl
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 16:37

16 Jul 2011, 00:50 #16

Pardon me, I was slightly intoxicated while posting. What I meant was that based on what I'm hearing a lot of customers are realizing that all they really use or want is the streaming service — Roger Ebert pointed out that by dropping the disc option, he ended up paying less, and he's not the only one. Personally, until the price hike, I was only paying for streaming because it was so cheap that I was too lazy to go click the button to turn it off, even though I wasn't using it. None of that is universal, of course, but I do wonder if either/or use is prevalent enough that it factored into the newly separated service plans.

Anyway - If Redbox invented something like a Blackbox that rented films noir, a Quietbox that rented silent pictures, a Kaijubox filled with rubber suit operas, or a Yellowbox loaded with gialli, well hey, that'd be different.
Movies and black coffee: The Exploding Kinetoscope
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Lisa Larkin
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Joined: 04 Nov 2004, 10:11

16 Jul 2011, 04:36 #17

The trouble is, Red Box is the only meatspace option since the implosion of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, at least in these parts. Blockbuster ran all the mom & pops out of business decades ago and now there's a video vacuum filled only by those kiosks.

I just did a search to see if any new video stores have emerged in my neighborhood since Blockbuster's bankruptcy. The only hit within 10 miles appears to specialize in Tagalog movies, though I'm pretty sure the little Indian market on San Marcos Blvd rents Hindi movies. There is one really great video shop in San Diego but it's way down in Kensington, more than 30 miles from where I live in north county. I used to rent Hong Kong movies from a karaoke shop in Kearny Mesa when I lived in La Jolla, but that's too far away from me now too.
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Bob Lindstrom
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Joined: 17 Oct 2004, 19:03

16 Jul 2011, 15:53 #18

For me the real issue is the hefty 60 percent (!) increase which comes on the heels of a price increase last winter. A more reasoned and gradual increase might have gone down better. Suppose gasoline prices went to over &#036;6 per gallon overnight? We'd hear wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yet, it's the same percentage of increase.

And while I still think NF is good, if not great, value, the arrogance of the Netflix exec who described the increase as "the price of a couple of lattes for most people" really rubbed me the wrong way. I don't pay &#036;3 or more for a cup of coffee because A.) I can't afford it, B.) I won't afford it because it's appallingly poor value. This "Let them eat cake" mentality can't be good for the Netflix brand image.
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Marty McKee
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Marty McKee
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Joined: 17 Oct 2004, 22:44

16 Jul 2011, 16:14 #19

I just decided to switch from my current 3-discs-plus-streaming account to a 2-discs-plus-streaming account, and I will pay one dollar less than I have been paying. Sure, I get one fewer DVD at a time, but I got plenty around here to watch anyway. It's not much of a hardship.

I have naturally assumed the reason Netflix is doing this is to encourage people to drop all their DVDs and go all-streaming. Judging from their actions the last year or so, I'm sure Netflix now hates DVDs and wants to get rid of them. And when they do totally abolish DVDs, I bet the company will enjoy firing thousands of workers.
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or follow my blog at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot.
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James Cheney
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 02:43

16 Jul 2011, 16:26 #20

The "latte exchange rate" is used with amazing frequency these days to justify all sorts of imprudent spending for stuff you don't really need. Inside sources tell me that even Pentagon officials have been trying it on for size when proposing troop surges lately!

I agree with Bob in every respect. It's like saying that your upped rates are no more expensive than weekly groceries at Whole Foods, or a brunch for a family of five at Balthazar's in NYC followed by a trip to a multiplex plus gas (which costs no more than a couple Lattes these days too).
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