Netflix Gouges Customers in Price Hike Horror: What Do We Do Now?

According to Autostraddle’s reader survey, 53% of you watch streaming TV episodes and movies on Netflix.

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That means at least 53% of you are probably raging about Netflix’s price hike, which was reported yesterday. From Gawker:

If you’re on Netflix’s one DVD per month plus streaming plan, your rate will go to $16 from $10; if you currently get two DVDs plus streaming, your rate will go to $20 from $15. Those are Netflix’s two most popular plans, getting hiked 60 and 33 percent respectively.

The company is now charging separately for streaming and DVD-by-mail plans, so if you’re on the $8 streaming only plan, you’re fine, and if you’re a Luddite who never streams you’ll actually see a price cut, which is how Netflix is able to brag about offering its “lowest prices ever” three times in its announcement of this massive price increase. Neat trick, and perfectly suited to a company that pulls sleazebag moves like hiring fake enthusiastic customers.

Granted, Netflix, unlike almost every other corporation in the universe, has never pissed me off. DVDs are often delivered so fast I often wonder if the Netflix Warehouse (which I can see clearly in my imagination, it’s a very lively place) is located in the basement of the elementary school across the street from my apartment.  I think I’ve lost/damaged at least three DVDs and wasn’t held accountable for any of them. They have an unrivaled selection of documentaries. Is that worth $16/month?

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So why the price hike? Netflix “explains“:

Last November when we launched our $7.99 unlimited streaming plan, DVDs by mail was treated as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan. At the time, we didn’t anticipate offering DVD only plans. Since then we have realized that there is still a very large continuing demand for DVDs both from our existing members as well as non-members. Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs. Creating an unlimited DVDs by mail plan (no streaming) at our lowest price ever, $7.99, does make sense and will ensure a long life for our DVDs by mail offering. 

Right! Thank you for that completely unsatisfactory explanation.

So what’s a girl to do? Do we pick between DVDs and streaming, do we suck it up and shell out more cash, or do we not suck it up, still shell out more cash, and then complain about it a lot?

It’s hard to give up streaming because conversations like this are always happening:

you: really? the mormons funded prop 8?
them: yessss!!! have you seen 8: the mormon proposition? it’s a documentary
you: no, is it on dvd
them: oh! it’s on netflix! you can watch it right now
you: i don’t have netflix
them: :-(

Conversely, now that Netflix has successfully pillaged the brick-and-mortar video rental industry, it’s often your only source of real-live-physical DVDs.

What else is out there? Admittedly I know nothing about “devices” (like phones and teevees) and watch my movies the traditional way — on my laptop! — so I’m interested in your opinions on that topic.

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The Options+

Amazon Prime

Price: Included in Prime Membership ($79/year, which breaks down to $6.58 a month.)

Selection: 6,000 movies and TV shows are available for free with the Prime Membership. However, “Netflix movies are considerably newer and, quite frankly, more popular movies than those of Amazon Prime.”

Pros: If you buy a lot of Amazon stuff, especially large things or things that need to go to lots of different addresses, an Amazon Prime membership is already worth it, movies or no movies. Free 2-3 day shipping is like a miracle of the modern age.

Cons: Selection.

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Hulu Plus:

Price:$7.99 per month

Selection:  “More than 16,000 episodes from more than 400 current and classic TV shows” and “hundreds of movies including exclusive titles from the Criterion Collection.”

Pros: Entire catalogs of shows including many you won’t find streaming free on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Highlights include Glee’s first season, seven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 53 Arrested Development episodes. Immediate access to shows currently on the air before they come out on DVD.

Cons: You won’t find any of your favorite premium cable shows which means no L Word, Queer as Folk, The Wire, Six Feet Under or really anything you’d ever wanna watch, ever. They don’t even have My So-Called Life! What the hell.

But regardless — the biggest Con is that even with a Hulu Plus membership, you’ve STILL gotta sit through ads every five minutes. I support Hulu’s choice to include advertising with their free streaming videos — content isn’t free, y’all! — but Jesus Christ are their ads irritating. Hulu often crashes my browser and it’s maddening that in order to return to where I left off in the aborted episode, I’ve gotta sit through three rounds of ads.

Also, minuscule movie selection.+

Blockbuster

Price: $11.99 for unlimited DVDS one-at-a-time, $16.99 for two at a time, $19.99 for three. Streaming is not available, you have to rent individual videos for $1.99 each. (link)

Selection: Claims “Many new releases available  28 days before Netflix and Redbox.” “Family-friendly” policy means sinners like you might not find everything you’re looking for at Blockbuster.

Pros: You can exchange your DVDs in the Blockbuster store and get even new releases for free.

Cons: Could go bankrupt (again) at any moment. Its selection isn’t as thorough with respect to independent films and especially LGBT movies — Blockbuster lists 160 titles in its “Gay & Lesbian” section, whereas Netflix lists 624.


iTunes & Amazon Instant Video

On iTunes or Amazon Instant you can buy or rent loads of entertaining teevee and cinema options. On iTunes you can even see new shows the day after the episode airs on the teevee!  On both sites, show episodes generally run about $1.99 each (with a small discount for buying the entire season) and movies can be rented for between $1.99 and $5.99 or purchased for $1.99-$14.99.

Netflix

New Price: $8 Streaming Only, $8 one DVD only, $15 for one DVD plus Streaming or $20 for two DVDs plus streaming. (link)

Selection: 20,000 movies & TV shows streaming online and over 100,000 titles available on DVD.

Pros: They have ALL OF THE MOVIES!!! This is especially important for those who enjoy LGBT films and documentaries, as so many of us do. It also has a fancy algorithm that can read your mind and tell you what movies to watch or something.

Cons: We’re mad at them right now.

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This gigantic rate hike has been heavily criticized, much to nobody’s surprise. PC World reports:

Users left nearly 3,000 posts on the Netflix blog as of 6 p.m. Tuesday and around 10,000 comments on the company’s Facebook page. Commentors accused Netflix of being greedy and alleged it was trying to “choke more change” out of its customers. Others suggested refreshing the streaming content to justify the price change. Others said they would be leaving Netflix.

It’s worth noting that Netflix isn’t exactly going under — in 2010, their stock price increased 219%, revenue jumped 29% (to 2.16 billion) and net income went up 39% (to 161 million). They also added 8 million more subscribers. Furthermore, Netflix’s Chief Executive Reed Hasting’s compensation doubled in 2010 to $5.5 million but that’s actually not a big deal, says The L.A Times:

Although $5.5 million is nothing to sneeze at, it also pales in comparison to other chief executives at big media companies.

For example, Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, an outspoken critic of Netflix’s business model, had a compensation package worth $26.3 million in 2010. Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman had a 2010 package worth $84.5 million. The compensation package of CBS chief Leslie Moonves was valued at nearly $58 million. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav’s deal was worth almost $43 million. 

So what do you think? Are you gonna pony up? You have until September 1st to decide!

ETA: Atlantic Wire has a great piece called 7 Reasons Why Netflix’s Price Hike is a Bonehead Move. It’s interesting because most people I’ve talked to have said they’ll give up the DVD-by-mail, but the Atlantic writer seems to think everyone’s gonna give up streaming:

A time might come when it would make sense for Netflix to charge a significant premium for its streaming, but the service has not yet reached that point. Although its streaming library has grown significantly over the past few years, a huge portion of desirable movie and television titles remain unavailable by stream. Using my own Netflix queue as an example, just 3% of my selections are available by stream — and less than one-third of my queue’s titles were released in 2010 or later. If Netflix wants customers to pay a lot more for streaming, then it needs the quality of its service to better reflect its cost

As I’ve mentioned 35 times in this post, I watch a lot of LGBT films, a lot of documentaries and a lot of television series. In fact, I’m 95% positive those are the ONLY genres I ever watch on Netflix streaming — they just don’t have a good selection of anything else. But those genres are important enough to me that I’d definitely miss them.

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2847 articles for us.

107 Comments

  1. We’ll still be staying with Netflix. We have an old DVD player that always has static when you put a dvd in. I told them to get an HDMI cable ages ago and they were shocked at the $90 price tag. Now that we stream Netflix and have such high quality picture through the HDMI they are both very pleased as am I :)

  2. I was on the unlimited streaming + 1 DVD Plan and never remembered to get the 1 DVD or, if I did, never remembered to watch it and/or return it. So, when I saw the article about the price hike, I immediately went to my account and dropped down to unlimited streaming only.

  3. Didn’t Netflix just HAVE a rate hike in January? I downgraded my plan (from 3 + streaming to 2 + streaming) and left a cranky note on their Facebook page since their blog was full and could not accept more comments (it caps at 5000, not 3000). I will stay with them for now but I plan on feeling resentful about it.

    • Seconded. I was saying the exact thing when I read the notice. I downgraded in January from 4+ streaming to 3+ streaming. I was paying 23$/mo went to 20$ and they’re hiking it back up to 23%/mo. So in essence over the past 6 months they’ve hiked the price the price of one disk. I have Amazon Prime and I’m tempted to do away with streaming all together but as Riese has said, I usually watch streaming to watch tv episodes and lgbt movies, no documentaries tho, I don’t want my brain exploding from real information overload.

  4. great story on alternatives!

    personally, i will happily shell out for the streaming plan since I use it regularly through my Xbox 360 in lieu of having cable/tv channels. and i refuse to rent DVDs on principle (because wtf, there are still DVDs?) and already was on the streaming plan and therefore don’t care…though i do think i still owe netflix a disc from approximately 2005.

    I’m pretty happy to support any company that ruptures the existing antiquated models of the tv/entertainment/film/recording industry, i.e. Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, etc. And I fill in the gaps with torrenting, I mean…with totally legal stuff.

    Awesome sidenote about Amazon Prime:
    IT IS TOTALLY FREE WITH A STUDENT EMAIL ADDRESS! you get a year free, and if you’re like me and your school let you keep those .edu email addresses. (i have like 3 variations on mine= 3 years free) that works too.

    Also, if you’re a current student it’s also a free yr, of course.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info

    I use it to buy all the things. Long live free 2 day shipping!

    • The free year of Prime for students doesn’t include streaming (but oh my god I love free shipping and just clicking and buying things, and Amazon has everything) BUT apparently when your year (or three) is up, you can get it 50% off (which makes it like, $3/month) and that does include streaming.

  5. I made the tough choice when they changed the rates a few months ago. I decided to go with just the streaming option. If there is something I HAVE to watch (ex. True Blood) that’s not available streaming, I simply break down and pay $1 to rent the disc. I have well over 350 films in my instant queue and figured that would keep me occupied enough to justify the $7.99/month. It would have been a waste of money to stay with the 1 dvd out plan. That’s what fits my lifestyle anyway.

  6. I complained on twitter about the rate hike, but was feeling very #whitewhine about it all. My friend offered this option:

    Keep streaming and join the library for DVDs.

      • The problem that I’ve found with library DVDs is that they skip way too much or have huge chunks that can’t be watched because of scratches. Some libraries have machines that can clean discs better than you ever could at home and I’d recommend asking them if they can do that. Nothing is more frustrating to me than getting into something and then all of a sudden finding yourself staring at the words the disc cannot be read.

        If they don’t have a machine like that and you take it home and have problems you could bring it back and they might be able to send it out to get cleaned. Or, if you’re like me, you will go through The Steps.

        Step #1: Gently clean disc and put back into DVD player.
        Step #2: Realize that it still doesn’t work. Cry.
        Step #3: Put disc into different DVD player.
        Step #4: Repeat Step #2, emphasis on the crying.
        Step #5: Skip to one scene ahead of the scene you were watching. Carefully rewind to the place you left off BUT NOT TOO CLOSE or else you have to start over.
        Step #6: Repeat Step #5 about 15 or 1500 times until you are finally done with the movie or episode.

        • omg this is my life because I have an ancient DVD player and it can’t read over tiny miniscule scratches because it’s so old. Seriously it’s the first DVD player my dad EVER bought and he gave it to me when he upgraded. The first time. I should see if he still has the others cos I know he’s upgraded multiple times. Such a techie junkie.

  7. I’M SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS. I was literally fuming yesterday when I realized my monthly plan was going to increase by a whole 6 dollars.

    After reading this and realizing there is nothing else out there, I’ll downgrade to unlimited streaming and yet again, let the man win. F.

  8. The only reason I am considering coughing up the extra dough for Netflix is to support the indie filmmakers whose films might only be available on DVD- to encourage Netflix to make a larger order of their films so that they can make some distribution bucks. However, if new micro budget indies go straight to streaming, I’ll eat my words.

    • Greencine is THE joint for microbudget indies, though I’m not sure what their selection is like for big budget mainstream stuff. Their pricing is a bit higher than Netflix’s, but it could really be worth it for hard-to-find items. I am looking into this.

      • I’ve never tried Mubi (I don’t use it correctly) but that could be another viable option- might this also be the sea change for alternative distribution models? The death of the dvd or just the netflix monopoly? Am I talking out of my ass?

        • caitlinmae, Mubi looks amazing!!!!! Thank you for sharing! I love the selection listed on Greencine, but spent about 20 minutes trying to find out their pricing structure for streaming. Mubi just puts it right out there. And their catalogue looks phenomenal!

          Haaaaaaaa sea change for alternative distribution models is a huge question. My guess is that this will just keep things confused and industry standard-free for longer.

  9. I don’t use the streaming at all so I was kind of excited. But then I canceled my account anyway because I’m broke, and I got a membership at an awesome independent video store in my neighborhood so if I do spend money it’s at least local.

  10. I’m on the streaming plus 1 DVD plan, and I’m going to stick with it. Unless the availability of streaming movies/shows somehow increases into awesomeville and outmodes my need for the DVDs. I won’t be holding my breath for that though.

  11. A note for people thinking of leaving Netflix: they have an option where you can freeze your account, where you don’t pay for that time and can’t rent or stream movies but it does let you browse and more importantly it saves all of your preferences so if you decide to come back you don’t have to deal with Adam Sandler recommendations until the robots figure it out.

          • I’ve had a Leslie Neilsen movie out for just over two years now. I keep telling myself I’ll find the sleeve and return it, but it still hasn’t happened…

          • SO many times I’ve done this. So, so many weeks I could’ve been watching something else on my queue, but I let the envelope sit there because I’m “not in the mood” to watch that until I either a) watch it and bemoan the colossal waste of time spent waiting to watch/watching some B-rate (or worse) flick; or b) finally give up, send it back without watching it, and tell myself I’ll put it back on my queue (I never do).

          • ZOMG I had Devil’s Backbone for a year. That’s the delight/issue with streaming- immediacy of options… and why the video store is the best, because your film selection matches your exact mood.

  12. I heard this news and immediately emailed my parents begging them to keep the streaming part. If there’s one common thread among my generation (of a certain socio-economic group) is having the password to our parents’ netflix instant account.

  13. Honestly, the hike doesn’t bother me for a couple of reasons:

    1) I mostly just stream stuff. I’m still on the 2-DVD plan, but I keep meaning to cancel it, as I’ve gotten so spoiled by my Roku box that the whole process of watching a DVD seems like SO MUCH WORK.

    2)I also don’t really think they’re just trying to squeeze more money out of customers. A lot of their licensing deals with content providers were made years ago for almost nothing because the studios didn’t see online video as a threat to their revenue streams. (They were focused on DVDs. Universal and Fox handed over streaming rights to far more of their back catalog in exchange for Netflix agreeing to hold off on their DVD new releases for 28 days, to try to prop up individual sales of DVDS, which have been on the decline for a while now.)

    Now they do see streaming as a big threat, and those deals are coming up for renewal, and they’re gonna be a lot more difficult/expensive. If I recall, Starz handed over the StarzPlay stuff for a measly $25 million a year originally, and that deal’s about to expire, and Starz is gonna want a lot more money.

    And, finally, I think the super cheap streaming+DVDs was like a lot of things: an introductory offer to get people hooked on a new, semi-experimental product. It’s like Amazon offering people the cloud for free. It won’t be free forever.

    Wow, this went on far longer than I planned it to.

  14. I have the 1 dvd with unlimited streaming plan and I was fuming yesterday when I realized that I’ll be spending an extra 72 dollars per year. Now that you’ve showed me that there’s not really another option over there I’m thinking of downgrading to streaming only and start using RedBox. :(
    Still, I’m hopeful that all the whining pay off and they create a combo option for the old customers.

    • “Still, I’m hopeful that all the whining pay off and they create a combo option for the old customers.”

      I completely agree, it seems absurd to me that they’re not grandfathering the benefits of existing accounts for current/old users because that’s what my experience with other companies have been. This entire situation just seems absurd.

  15. Also, this is kinda related: it’s an article in Slate about the stupid decisions the movie industry is making about online video, pretty much aping the stupidity of the music industry about ten years ago. (And if you have any interest in the latter, there’s a great book called Appetite for Self-Destruction that explains it in detail.)

    As the article points out, the studios don’t want to admit their product is worth less in the digital age. Which is understandable, no one, least of all billionaires, want to accept reduced circumstances. And so they’ll fight online video until it brings them down.

    OK, really done now.

  16. I just skimmed the comments so forgive me if this was mentioned already (sorry, I’m hungryyyy) but the reasoning behind this is that if they have fewer DVD customers then they can put more money towards acquiring streaming rights for more titles, which will make the streaming side of things better. But they obvs need to act fast. Their streaming selection isn’t that great, but if they put more money towards it it could be amazing.

    • yeah, this is my reasoning for happily forking over the cash too. i’d rather support this model and help netflix seal the deal for more streaming rights & usher in a less broken model of the way we consume entertainment

      • oh that’s interesting — that netflix commando dude should’ve included this information in their blog post about raising prices. i mean i know nothing about PR but it seems like his blog post was a dumb move

  17. also also also, if their business becomes more streaming than DVD then that is proof to studios that the streaming/digital business is where it’s at, and they will be more willing to make deals w/ Netflix for their content… in theory.

  18. Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. With the streaming + 1 dvd, I’m able to get 2-3 DVDs a week (Because I am insane and watch a ridiculous amount of movies. As in, a movie/documentary/tv episode every night sort of ridiculous. It’s my bedtime routine + cheaper than going out). I’m saving money + have a better selection than going to the Redbox 15-20 times. Redbox is actually less convenient than the dvds showing up in the mail, as it’s a good 35 minute drive to the nearest Redbox. Fail. I mean, this is totes just from my/my family’s shenanigans perspective and whatnot. I dunno, just a matter of what one is willing and not willing to spend $$$ on.

  19. I pretty much knew that a price increase was coming…When too many folks catch onto a good thing, it’s inevitable.

    That said, I’m dropping my DVD plan from 3 to 1…I use the streaming so much that I have the same DVDs sitting on top of my TV since December. However, I do want to keep the option just in case a movie I want to see is only available on DVD.

  20. Have you guys not noticed that the L Word and Dexter are no longer available on netflix though?? apparently they decided not to renew their agreement with Showtime. first that, now this. blaaargh

    • WAIT FOR REAL???? Cause the majority of the reason I got Netflix was to watch The L Word over and over again on instant streaming, although Season 6 was only on dvd. I didn’t mind missing that one though, for reasons I’m sure I don’t have to explain…(IFC)

      Ha ha, I totally watched 8: the mormon proposition on Netflix instant streaming. And Let’s Talk About Sex. And a documentary about parking attendants. I don’t think I can give up Netflix, even though my free year of Amazon Prime is about to be up and I should probs just renew that instead so I can keep shipping for free to my 1342349080 addresses.

    • Yes! Bastards. I had just started watching Dexter (plus, was anticipating the arrival of the last L Word season airing) and all of the sudden, they’re gone!

      Thank God I have Weeds on DVD. All of them. Oh, Mary Louise Parker…

  21. “Gouges”? Having DVD subscribers–finally–actually pay a fair price for a [streaming] service that they were getting for almost free for a long, long time (while the rest of us will continue to pay the same price that we’ve had to pay all along)? Oh, the horror!

  22. After moping about Netflix for a couple of hours last night I discovered maggots under the kitchen sink and the price hike didn’t seem so bad.
    Also this happens like twice a month with Metrocards in New York, this stings a little more because Netflix is generally awesome. Even though they took ‘I Can’t Think Straight’ off of streaming.

  23. It just kinda feels like a betrayal from my old pal, Netflix, eh? I was so much more mad about this than when evil hellbeast Comcast jacked up my cable price a couple months ago… I downgraded my Netflix to the $4.99 plan (2 dvd’s/month + 2 hours streaming/month) because realistically I am married to my job and tend to keep a DVD for six months and only watch streaming content when, for instance, I discover that Skins(uk) exists.

    The limited plan doesn’t really jive with my Netflix habits (binge on online content for a week then forget about it for months) but at least I won’t feel like I’m wasting 66% more money per month than before.

  24. I don’t like that they’re doing this of course but if licensing fees are going to rise as anticipated from $180m to $1.8B, as they will with streaming getting more and more popular, I can’t blame them.

  25. Can I just ask how current is the streaming options of Netflix tv shows? I live in Toronto and I have Netflix but I wouldn’t consider it a viable option for watching tv shows I like. They’re not nearly current enough. I also find myself searching for movies and keep getting told they don’t have that one. It’s nothing particularly obscure just not available. I’m sorry I can’t remember a specific example at the moment but it can get a little frustrating. For $8 I’m not really upset, I just re-watch movies I know I love and check out documentaries and stuff but I just wondered how great is Netflix in the U.S.of A?

    • Lots of dime-a-dozen reality shows go up quickly (Pawn Stars, for example). It seems like Fox and NBC get their shows up there not long after they stop airing (Instant Watch has all of Glee, most of Parks and Recreation, The Office, etc.). There are quite a few good old(ish) shows (lots of old Nickelodeon cartoons, Veronica Mars) as well.

      It’s not wonderful for HBO shows, I don’t think. It was pretty good about Showtime, but now I’m hearing that they chose not to renew that contract. In general, I’ve understood that Netflix Canada is really not as good as the American version.

  26. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, I may switch to the dvd only plan. I really don’t use streaming that much since my internet is super annoying and doesn’t like streaming, particularly why I try to stream to my tv and I don’t like watching shows/movies on my laptop. And I’m not very impressed with their streaming library, a lot of the shows that I’m trying to catch up on are only available on dvd.

  27. i hate that they raised their prices, but at the same time, i like that the streaming is a separate price now, because i rarely watch the dvds that i receive. the last dvds that i got from them were from may and i just returned them last friday.

  28. I am mostly on streaming only, but some months I switch to +1 DVD so I can watch all the DVD-only movies in one month and not pay the extra $2 every other month.

    SO I won’t be doing that anymore, but I will definitely be sticking with Netflix.

  29. This article confused a bit, because I thought that Netflix DID have Glee, Arrested Development, all of the Office on instant watch. & they do. For now…I seriously don’t trust Netflix for jack anymore.

  30. My mom immediately canceled our account. I’m okay with it, but I wish she’d given me the chance to watch a couple of things. Might get my own account in the future, but I dunno. I hate being jerked around by companies.

  31. … well now I look stupid, don’t I? Thanks, reply feature.

    Here, have a joke.

    How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Oh, it’s a really obscure number, I don’t think you’d know it.

  32. I’m on the streaming + 1 DVD plan and I’m like 98.9% sure I’ve had a copy of Kick-Ass since like January soooo I’m pretty sure I could give that up without a problem. Streaming- no way. I like tv more than I like movies which Netflix streaming is great to use for that sole purpose. Plus my PS3 would be very bored without netflix :/

    • Thanks for sharing that article, and please do keep talking about it – I’d especially love to hear more about this original streaming content business.

      The more I hear about it, the more I believe that while Netflix may indeed have an eye toward the future (i.e. the future being streaming, and the future being basically here), they jumped the gun re: both turning their subscription focus on streaming and – equally or more importantly – the way they handled this announcement.

      As others have already noted, Netflix’s streaming catalogue is nowhere near as full as their DVD catalogue. This isn’t necessarily in their control right this very second; it depends on the content creators’ (primarily studios) attitudes toward licensing and distribution, and to my knowledge/observations (I work in the industry), the major studios don’t necessarily know how to approach streaming yet. Things change really slowly in this industry. Things are changing, but there aren’t a ton of new media protocols yet.

      My #1 problem with this change in Netflix’s plans is the PR around it. Specifically, I found out via an article on LAist.com early yesterday morning, and did not hear anything from Netflix on the subject until much later in the day. That made me feel totally devalued as a customer. It was like learning that my gf cheated on me via Facebook. Then when I read their email it didn’t even really make sense – especially in light of their not-fantastic streaming catalogue. To bust out with another tired metaphor, it’s like they are writing checks their mouths can’t cash. Except the cash they are taking is mine, via automatic withdrawal every month.

      I am not ready to break up with Netflix just yet – I haven’t found anything better, and I had had 100% excellent experiences with them to date – but I am strongly hoping that there is some stellar customer service offered in the next 24 hours. Something along the lines of “We are very sorry for the giant price hikes and the badly-handled announcements of such. This is what your extra money is going to cover, and here is what it will buy you. In the meantime here is a free [month/three months/whatever based on how long you’ve been a customer].”

    • yes, keep writing, Carly, I like background info on things like this and if you have some thoughts on it, write away!

      I doubt I’ll ever break up with netflix. They suggested I might like The Wild and Wonderful Whites.

  33. I’ll keep both till September, when the pricing changes, and turn over as many DVDs as possible till then, ripping each one to watch over the next couple of months. ;)

    What I worry about with the streaming is when Comcast/TimeWarner/AnyDickCableCompany will clamp down on the bandwidth and squeeze money out of us all then.

  34. After initially yelling “what the fuck?!” and being annoyed when I looked at the price changes on my account at like 2 am yesterday (today?) I’m fine with the price changes now. My sister just got netflix like a week or two ago and when I told her this morning the price change her face looked like I just told her Santa wasn’t real—it was pretty funny.

    Come September I think I’ll downgrade to just streaming/freeze my account just because I’ve had Inglorious Basterds sitting on my dresser since February bc school/work makes watching movies damn near impossible to do. I like Netflix though because it’s seriously what I use to watch an obscene amount of documentaries.

  35. Just switched our plan to STREAMING ONLY, screw the price hike for rentals, there is a red box in every corner and I wouldn’t mind giving my $$ to the local rental shop around the corner better a mom and pop place instead of Netflix any day, bleh

  36. As many people have pointed out, it’s ridic hard to find B&M video stores now. And I live in the D.C. Metro area, not bumf*ck. As a tanget, I just relocated back to here from bumf*ck and I can say with certainty there were more video stores there than here.

    Anywho. I wanted to watch all the old Harry Potter flicks in prep for the new one (I’ve never seen them). Couldn’t stream on Netflix. Decided to rent local. Couldn’t find a store. Begrudgingly put HP discs to the top of my Netflix disc queue.

    *le sigh*

    #firstworldproblems,indeed

  37. I love how netflix was all “HAHA PRICE INCREASE MOFO”

    and then the next day it’s like “but, you can stream on your 3ds! look how awesome that is!”

    also how come all of the things i would like to stream are disappearing. shouldn’t they expand their streaming? i was watching dexter and then mid 2nd season it died (july first) so now i need both dvd’s and streaming because freakin a I HAVE TO FINISH THAT SHOW.

    also it has weird shit like only the second season on up from the l word? WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THAT I NEED TO KNOW HOW IT STARTS. so yeah

    i gotta go with both. i hate being a poor college kid.

  38. I was angry then realized I don’t have crap on my DVD queue I will miss. I would like more content on streaming but I did just find star trek next generation and voyager streaming so I just can’t stay mad.

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