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Netflix Announces Streaming Only Plans and Higher Prices for DVDs 488

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the postmaster-general-reportedly-unhappy dept.
micsaund writes "While Netflix has continued to drop fees and still maintain a good services, today, they take three steps in the other direction by doubling the cost of the plan you probably already have: 'So for instance, our current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans ... Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month ... Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming), for $7.99 a month. ... The price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99).' Now, if they could get everything available on streaming, this would be fine, but how many times have you needed to get a physical disc for that oddball movie, or had a movie in your instant queue that magically disappears due to some behind-the-scenes contract expiration or whatever?"
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Netflix Announces Streaming Only Plans and Higher Prices for DVDs

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  • With regard to the bottom line, of course. :-P

    What, you thought customers mattered? How quaint.

    Cynically,

    • ...because I'm not in a country where Netflix is available.
      If I was, I'd be a bit peeved, of course.
    • by Afforess (1310263)
      I feel compelled to mention that they only increase their streaming selection every day. Just recently, all of the Star Trek TV series came on Instant (There goes my free time). So technically, they are adding value every day, and not charging more for it. Imagine if they charged based on the size of their streaming catalogue, or per-usage. ;)

      Also, Amazon, Google, and Hulu combined still don't match up. Add that to increasing contractual costs (http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/08/technology/netflix_starz_con
      • Just recently, all of the Star Trek TV series came on Instant (There goes my free time).

        A little while back we were watching an episode of Doc Martin and had to stop partway through. The next morning, we try to open up the same episode to resume watching, only to find that that particular season was no longer viewable on Instant. We called tech support, and were told that content gets pulled out of rotation from time to time. Their recommended recourse -- wait a couple weeks and check again.

        So sure, Star Trek came on Instant. But what else went away instead?

        Finally, keep in mind this is a price decrease for those not interested in streaming at all, and $16 is WAY cheaper than my previous $50 cable bill

        But for those of us who had happ

        • by hedwards (940851)

          It's not Netflix's fault, that's solely the fault of the content providers that insist on having their content only time limited. So, I've found that I want to watch a movie and then when I get to it a couple days later it's no longer available. I'm sure that Netflix would love to have content stay permanently.

          It's basically just more evidence that content providers don't really care about piracy.

      • But, as the article mentioned you have to be careful to note the "available until" blurb. I've had things disappear out of instant because I played the "I'll get around to watching that eventually" game.

        Agreed that more seems to be available all the time but I suspect it's not just contracts that keep them shuffling things in and out of availability; it seems also they only have room for so much at any given time...

      • by kcitren (72383)
        Unfortunately they're also having to pull things from their streaming service http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/money/netflix-pulls-sony-films-from-streaming-service-dpgonc-061711/ [myfoxphilly.com]
      • by Java Pimp (98454)

        Just recently, all of the Star Trek TV series came on Instant

        But we lost Babylon 5. I was working my way through the seasons again... :-(

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      Netflix: hey guys, we added more cost and less value! Surely this is good for the shareholders!

      reality: watch as the spiral downward begins.

      • Netflix is constantly adding things to their streaming side of things, so it isn't like they are charging more and offering less. And Netflix is still the best paid streaming service available.

        reality: most people will either just go to streaming only (like I plan on) and some will pay more. in the end I am sure Netflix will not lose much in the deal. They have been doing things right from the beginning - they jumped on the streaming video stuff when other physical media only rental places didn't. Most of
        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Every business does the "let's charge what the market will bear", however, the question is "how do you do it?"

          Hint: this is not how you do it.

          • Netflix did this because their costs went up. If you haven't been paying attention, studios have become more ambitious with asking for more money for less content. Unfortunately this meant an inevitable price increase. To be honest I'm surprised that Netflix held out this long. While data costs may be going down, content prices have skyrocketed for Netflix, thus our prices went up. Blame the studios for your higher prices. Not Netflix. If anyone knows how to fuck up a good thing in search for a profit, its
    • So what? Making a profit doesn't matter? Clearly netflix was in it to provide a streaming service to everyone at a loss. Unfortunately this was inevitable. If you want to blame anyone, blame the studios. They've been attacking Netflix and demanding higher prices for years for the same content. Netflix costs go up, so does the cost of service.
    • by wondafucka (621502) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:46PM (#36740076) Homepage Journal
      This is why I've been sending back 3 DVDs in one mailer. I now have several hundred empty envelopes which I will promptly insert a slice of balogna into each and drop them into the mailbox. Statement made.
      • by thebra (707939) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:48PM (#36740142) Homepage Journal

        This is why I've been sending back 3 DVDs in one mailer. I now have several hundred empty envelopes which I will promptly insert a slice of balogna into each and drop them into the mailbox. Statement made.

        If you are giving away free bologna send some my way.

      • This is why I've been sending back 3 DVDs in one mailer. I now have several hundred empty envelopes which I will promptly insert a slice of balogna into each and drop them into the mailbox. Statement made.

        I love it! You could provide a whole deli-by-mail service -- a slice of bologna in one, cheese in another, mayo in a third, and perhaps a slice apiece of nice garlicky bread in a couple more.

        Mm, mm! I'm'a have me some of that! Especially after going through all that US Postal Service machinery. Yum!

    • by Seumas (6865)

      First, I'd pay way more than $8/mo for what I'm getting on streaming right now. Second, the DVD part of the service obviously has much more overhead involved and therefore would likely cost more. Especially if they want to try and eventually price people out of choosing that service and going with just streaming.

      My only complaints about streaming is the selection and the fact that so much stuff is only there shortly. I find about 20% of my queue just vanishing about every month. Worse, even when you do watc

    • What, you thought customers mattered? How quaint.

      Speaking as someone who only uses the streaming and will evidently see a 2 dollar a month reduction... uh... evidently yes. Keep the DVD and I'll keep the $2. Not sure why netflix didn't do this before.

      Anyway, BI is BS.

      Now, they are forcing people like me who were paying $9.99 a month, to drop to a streaming only plan at $7.99 a month. That's $24 in revenue they are missing out from one customer, per year, and they are going to be millions like me who make that decision.

      So he's whining about raising the price, and then saying on top of that netflix is going to be losing money when he pays the lower price. It's kind of like he's whining about having to keep his cake and whining about having to eat it too.

      Not having to mail out DVDs is more efficient

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thebra (707939) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:25PM (#36739706) Homepage Journal
    Well I'm not to sure how I feel about this. I currently have the streaming + 1 dvd. I only watch a dvd every few months but the option was still nice to have. There is no way I would pay 8 bucks a month for the few dvds I would watch. But on the other hand the streaming selection is pretty poor so paying 8 bucks a month for just streaming doesn't seem like that great of a deal. I think they've shot themselves in the foot but without a great alternative they will probably get away with it.
    • If there is no long-term commitment, then subscribe to DVDs and streaming in alternate months, and watch those works that aren't available on streaming during each DVD month.
    • . I think they've shot themselves in the foot but without a great alternative they will probably get away with it.

      Blockbuster? They have DVDs by mail either flat rate for all you want or some per-movie charge. I don't know about streaming. They claim that they have some deals to get new content from studios a month before Netflix too.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xacid (560407) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:37PM (#36739900) Journal

      I don't know if it's a great alternative but Blockbuster is still alive and kicking: http://www.blockbuster.com/download [blockbuster.com] Anyone have any experience with them?

      My knee-jerk reaction is to just cancel my account and be pissed. Afterall - it's a pretty large increase percentage-wise. However, when I really think about it - they've just been too cheap for a while. As long as they don't start pulling a move like the cable companies did and slap advertising on top of a paid service I think I'm okay with this. Compared to the volume of movies I watch now vs. the cost of getting them from a brick and mortar rental place I'm saving hundreds a month.

    • Well, this is all subjective, but I find the streaming plus over the air broadcasts a much better value than cable. The streaming lineup is increasing constantly for older movies and past season TV shows (which is 90% of what basic cable offers anyway). For about the same cost you could get high speed internet plus Netflix or low speed internet plus basic cable.

  • This save me a whole bunch of money; now I have a good reason to cancel my plan.

    Don't raise my cost by 50%+, not give me even a token thing more (and actually have a constantly shrinking streaming selection), and tell me this is a wonderful thing that is serving my best interests. People get angry when you lie to their face about something they can clearly se eis untrue. They assume you assume they are idiots.

  • On the one hand, I'm moderately curious to try out NetFlix.

    Since ditching the Cable Company I've been using an Antenna, Hulu, and Amazon Video to watch pretty much anything I've wanted (or at least enough that I haven't felt the miss except for a few "Cable Only" shows).

    I've been thinking about giving NetFlix a whirl as a supplement, but now I'm not sure which side I'd try (maybe the Disk Rental).

    On the other hand, considering that the reason I told the Cable Companies to take a hike was that they kept jack

  • What I don't understand is how streaming a movie is any different than renting a DVD in the eyes of the consumer. I also know that it's MUCH easier to copy a DVD then to capture the stream. So, what's up with the bizarre and seemingly arbitrary limitation of movies available for streaming? It's even worse in Canada, I can pretty much rent the same DVDs but the content available for streaming is just rubbish compared to what's available in the US.
    • by PickyH3D (680158)

      The movie industry limits the streaming so that we, as consumers, cannot rapid-fire watch a bunch of streams. It also definitely limits how many people can simultaneously watch a movie using the same service. Netflix lets you use the same account with multiple devices (I believe 5?) with streaming.

      That could easily be 5 different people in 5 different houses. Now, since I know that people simply queue up DVDs and rip them as they come in, I don't think this really stops anything, but no one has ever claimed

    • It's not that it's different in the eyes of the consumer. It's different in the eyes of the studios. The Studio's let Netflix get the DVDs sooner then they allow streaming, but once Netflix has the DVDs they can rent them out over and over forever (AFAIK). Streaming is subject to licensing, is forced to come -after- the initial DVD window to protect the studio's DVD sales, and can be revoked when the licensing contract expires.
      • by PRMan (959735)

        but once Netflix has the DVDs they can rent them out over and over forever (AFAIK)

        Not true. Try finding Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast DVDs on Netflix. They were removed at Disney's insistence in the last contract.

  • It'll be full DVDs for me. Menus, x-tra features (RIPPABLE! - ahem) various languages & subs for the hearing impaired etc. Never streamed that much anyway. I'll stick to discs-by-mail, thanks.
  • Saves me money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by characterZer0 (138196) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:36PM (#36739892)

    Now I do not have to pay for streaming that I could not use anyway because I do not user Windows or OSX.

    I just switched from 2 DVDs out + unlimited streaming for $15 per mo to 2 DVDs out and no streaming for $12 per month. Same service, lower price.

    Thank you Netflix!

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Its not limited to computers, you know. It's also available on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV 2, Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Boxee or a TV/Blu-Ray player with built-in Netflix support.

      I don't count OS X as supported anyway. I didn't switch to Mac so I could keep using Microsoft products. A streaming service is not going to make me install Silverlight.

      With the extremely low monthly caps in Canada, Netflix can't grab enough market share anyway. There's a clear conflict of interes

  • For a number of years, as a Netflix customer, I've been watching and thus receiving less and less DVDs a month. Two years ago I cut back to one-at-a-time. Streaming was free. Then the price went up for $2 (apparently, history being re-written, that hike was for the one-at-a-time dvd plan, the cost of the original one-at-a-time dvd plan being directed towards a streaming plan!) $10/mo still felt like a soft cost, I could absorb it, I did. Now it's going up to $16/mo. I like getting a dvd now and then,

    • I'm not going to cancel my Netflix account, but I am thinking about switching to a cheaper version than I have right now. Right now I have 2 blurays + streaming. I like having access to the streaming, but I don't use it very much. I certainly am not getting $8/month of value from it. I'll probably just end up dropping streaming completely and give them less/month then I used to pay.

      I understand that the streaming service is adding to expenses, but they should consider some sort of tiered usage (i.e. so man

  • by jcdick1 (254644) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:40PM (#36739940)

    The estimate is that in 2012, Netflix's license fees will go from $180 million in 2010 to $1.98 billion in 2012, according to this [cnn.com].

    Its going to be very hard for anyone to become the legal clearinghouse for media at a price point most consumers see as reasonable because the studios won't allow it.

    • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @05:17PM (#36740726)

      Bingo. We all knew this was coming, it was inevitable the moment Netflix made it big and people started unsubscribing from cable/satellite.

      The studios originally licensed content to Netflix believing they were an end of the line service - a place for content to go once every other method of squeezing out profit had been exhausted. Instead people stopped buying DVDs, stopped buying $3 episodes off of iTunes, stopped buying Video On Demand, etc. So instead of extracting the last few pennies out of their content, the existence of Netflix has been severely undermining more profitable viewing methods. The studios aren't charities of course and want what they believe they should be making (or to put it more appropriately: they strongly believe in price discrimination), which means if viewers are going to use Netflix as they currently are then Netflix will have to pay more for the right to deliver their content. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

      Finally, the next step will be for the studios to license their content to a Netflix competitor for cheap for a short period of time, similar to what the RIAA did with Apple & Amazon. The purpose will be to try to diminish the influence of Netflix, as a large independent content delivery company is going to squeeze the studios on profits. The end result will be that none of the content delivery companies will have enough leverage to use against the studios, leaving the studios in complete control of pricing.

  • The original article [netflix.com] says that they will "no longer offer a plan that includes both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail," but the example they cite only includes 1 DVD at a time. When they were DVD-only, it was usually 3 or 4 at a time.

    The implication is that they're going to stop offering those plans at all come September. That seems premature: the streaming catalog is getting better, but it's far from complete.

    I have the 3 plan and am currently paying $24 a month for it. Currently, each additional disk

  • Redbox... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nam37 (517083) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:41PM (#36739976) Homepage
    Basically, this will drive people to use Redbox for disc-based movies and NetFlix for screaming.
  • It's time to go streaming only. If everyone drops the DVD then they'll have to offer the content on streaming or get beat by a competitor that will offer it. By keeping that just-in-case disc subscription you delay the inevitable change.

  • "Netflix Announces Streaming Only Plans..."

    Why would they introduce something they've had for a long time?

  • $8/month streaming only - great for hopping around when I don't know what to watch.

    $1/DVD rental at the video store at the end of my block for DVDs. I don't think I watch more than one or two movies at a month, anyways.

    Done! That, plus the 20 ATSC channels I get with my new roof-mount antenna, and I'm saving $30/month from not having a cable bill. The antenna will pay for itself in two months.

    • Re:My solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ktappe (747125) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @05:28PM (#36740906)

      $8/month streaming only - great for hopping around when I don't know what to watch.

      $1/DVD rental at the video store at the end of my block for DVDs.

      You did exactly what they wanted you to: stuck with them. Now you are paying the same amount as before but they're providing you less.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:42PM (#36739988) Homepage
    The only Blockbuster left in a 10 mile radius of my house is an unmanned kiosk which is broken half the time. If I can't get everything via streaming, then Netflix has become far less useful to me. I was under the impression this was a semi-sustainable business; if I had known that they were just doing it long enough to kill the competition then jack up prices, I probably would have stuck with old faithful.
  • Now that there is an option to go streaming only and never have to worry about physical delivery, how hard is it to anonymously subscribe to netflix?

    Can you send them a cashiers check for a year at a time? How about using one of those debit cards you can buy with cash at the convenience store? Is there such a thing as a netflix gift card that you can buy with cash?

    I know that netflix will still get your IP address when they stream content to you (unless you have a really kick-ass VPN tunnel or the like),

  • I carpool in a parking lot next to a county library that just opened up last year. I think I'll stop in and see what their DVD collection looks like.

  • by nauseum_dot (1291664) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:45PM (#36740066)

    Sounds like the content providers are starting to work as an oligopoly and extracting the maximum cash out of Netflix, either that or Netfix is starting to cash in on the growing customer base.

    Another thought just popped into my head, and that might be that Netflix is trying to actively fracture their customer base to beat on their chest to the content providers that streaming or on demand content is the only means people will access media, or it could be that they are going to sell off the DVD distribution side and focus on the lower costs associated without having to warehouse, sort, ship, receive, and resort DVDs.

    • by Kamokazi (1080091)

      Another thought just popped into my head, and that might be that Netflix is trying to actively fracture their customer base to beat on their chest to the content providers that streaming or on demand content is the only means people will access media,

      I'm inclined to think this may more actually be the case, based on some recent comments from their CEO. I think they are forcing people to choose, and banking on them choosing streaming, therefore forcing more content to streaming.

  • by DdJ (10790) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:47PM (#36740114) Homepage Journal

    This should have been seen as inevitable, since it's been made clear that the content owners have been floored by the success of Netflix and are trying to negotiate much better terms for themselves now.

    I'm delighted at how little my own costs are going up (less than 8% I think).

    I'm also a little frustrated that so many people are reacting so strongly to this -- the content owners would all rather force us into "Hulu+" (with subscription plus advertising), or to "Zune Marketplace" or "iTunes" (per-episode purchase or rentals), or back to cable operators, and all the folks who are dropping their Netflix subscriptions are helping that happen. Ah well.

  • by Tailhook (98486) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:48PM (#36740132)

    I'm not going back. You'll have to live with some fraction of the cut you got for cable/satellite service, whether via Netflix or some other distributor. Streaming is the a la carte that should have been available 20 years ago. I will not pay for a package full of dreck. Pull whatever you want. I'll live with whatever is left over. You're not getting back to $70/month. Deal with it.

    You need to adopt this attitude as well. These people need to take a few pay cuts.

  • I pay the $10/mo for one DVD at a time, and streaming. There's a ton of stuff on DVD that doesn't get streamed, and I'm happy to wait for it. I use streaming all the time, but Netflix for me is as much about the DVDs.

    Fine if they want to emphasize streaming, but I'm neither going to pay $8/mo for just DVDs, nor $8/mo for just streaming.

  • I don't want a subscription, I want to just pay-per-view - like DVD rentals but without the hassle of going to the shop or waiting for the postman.

    So far no-one wants to take my money except the pirates.

    Shame.

    • I don't want a subscription, I want to just pay-per-view - like DVD rentals but without the hassle of going to the shop or waiting for the postman.

      So far no-one wants to take my money except the pirates.

      Shame.

      Amazon.com

      You're welcome.

    • by yincrash (854885)
      I believe both Amazon and iTunes as well as others would gladly take your money legally for streaming video rental.
  • "but how many times have you needed to get a physical disc for that oddball movie"

    Oddball Movie? Most of their tier 1 movies are still only available via disk. Look at their top 100 list and notice the handfull that are available via streaming. Let alone the ones that were available and are now taken back to disk only.

    I love Netflix, but they are pushing it if they think approaching basic cable prices can be justified. They are one of the reasons I dropped cable.

  • by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @04:52PM (#36740234) Journal

    my life sucks

    i have to wait 2 days to get a dvd mailed to my porch

    my wrists are itchy, pass the knife.

  • My price dropped $4/month by switching to a DVD/Blu-Ray only plan, getting rid of the streaming option that I never actually use. The streaming was too annoying for me to use in practice, really. Thank you Netflix and Slashdot!

  • It is $7.99/mo. for the things that are available for streaming, then for new releases and things not available on streaming, it is an additional $0.00 for BitTorrent.

    Movie studios, please do the math.
  • Netflix could increase their price 5-fold and it would still be cheaper than cable television with more content and higher quality. Now, if Netflix could become a broadband provider and totally eliminate the ISP, *then* they would be a powerhouse. It might be a good idea for them to do anyway, since their business model relies on their biggest competitors providing the delivery mechanism for their service.

  • I've had a bad habit of getting a Netflix disc, then leaving it sitting beside the TV for months without watching it. I've been willing to pay $2 a month for this privilege because there are, occasionally, movies I want to see that are not streamable. Assuming they're not going to grandfather in existing members' plans, I intend to cancel the disc part of my service. I also intend to explore what other options are available - It may make more financial sense for me to get an Apple TV for instance, or start

  • I just now logged into my account and canceled DVD delivery. Streaming appears to be the way things are going, and if Netflix thinks they can have it both ways, it'll have to be with someone else.

  • by Machtyn (759119) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @05:12PM (#36740620) Homepage Journal
    Oh sure - I post this comment in the two articles that don't make the front page. Well, here it is anyway:

    This is a harsh jump, especially for this long time subscriber. I remember when they went from $9.99 to $7.99 for single disk renters. They threw on the streaming for free. Only recently they jumped back up to $9.99. These are nice easy steps. For reference, I don't like paying over $13 for an MMO monthly registration (Everquest, World of Warcraft) and this Netflix cost jump is not insignificant - it's a 60% increase in cost!

    I imagine their disk mailers will be virtually non-existent. I know I will be dropping that service. My kids are enjoying the streaming videos too much that I would not get away from dropping that service. They watch an untold number of hours watching the children's shows (educational types and other fun stuff). But I appreciated having the disks of movies that hadn't quite made it to the streaming list.

    Perhaps they are trying to send a message to the MPAA studios? Are the studios trying to twist Netflix' arm? What is going on in the industry? I know who is going to get hurt from this: The US Postal Service! I would say it is also the subscribers, but the extra features are stripped from rental DVDs now - so there is very little difference between the streaming and a physical disk.

    Question for Netflix: What is the rental rate on BluRay disks? How bad is it for BD? I don't own a BD system and likely never will. If I did own BluRay, that would be my only reason for hanging on to the mailer.
    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      Perhaps they are trying to send a message to the MPAA studios?

      No, they are trying to shift everyone to streaming only, which is less costly than mailing DVDs (because of the postage, plus handling of the physical media). Once they have eliminated that cost and shifted everyone to streaming, then the plans will get much more costly. You had better hope that this move stimulates the DVD mailing industry so you have other services to fall back on. Otherwise your choices will soon be limited to "pay up, beyotch" ($150/mo *plus* your providers metered bandwidth plan) o

  • Thanks Netflix! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @06:52PM (#36742138) Journal

    Congratulations! I will be canceling my account at the end of this month and switching entirely to Bittorrent. Thanks for making it even harder to do things the "legitimate" way. You killed the golden goose. You had a service that was actually easier and more convenient to me than downloading DVD rips from bittorrent; the price was right, the selection was adequate (but only just), and it was worth it to me to pay for it. Not anymore, I'll just take what I want for free from the superior service known as P2P filesharing. I suggest everyone else do the same.

    • by jafo (11982) *
      There's another service that is easier and more convenient than downloading DVD rips: Stop consuming their product.

      You see, if you download the content off BitTorrent, the content companies see all this demand for their products and they look for a way to get revenue from that demand.

      If, instead, you stop consuming their goods, they see dropping prices and offering new distribution mechanisms as increasing revenue.

      So, by downloading this content, you're actually making the problems of pricing and dist

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