Tim Stevens ponders the fact that the DVD+Streaming Netflix package now costs $17, and wonders what he’ll do:
For me, as a subscriber myself, it’s decision time. Will I keep my Netflix account? Yes — at least partially. I like Netflix’s streaming options more than what’s on offer from the identically priced Hulu Plus service and, while I think Amazon Prime Instant Video will be a contender in the future, right now the lack of console support makes it a non-starter for me.
I’m going to think long and hard about canceling my disc services, or at least dropping back to the twice-monthly DVD plan. But, I’d really like for Netflix to take a cue from Redbox (and, indeed, from its original pricing scheme) and let me pay per-disc. More and more often I’m happy to wait for the random selection of decidedly non-new releases to pop up on the company’s Instant service before I watch them. It’s only the hot, high-impact, exciting new releases that I really want on disc. You know, the kind of movie you thought about going to see in the theater and totally planned to, but then one of your friends flaked or you got lazy or you called ahead for ticket prices and you decided “Yeah, I’ll just wait for Netflix and put that money toward my college loans.” Those are the movies that I want on disc.
I like the idea of paying per disc (and I’ve actually been arguing with people forever that if Netflix bought Redbox, it would immediately become the best thing in video), but I think that’s the opposite of the direction Netflix is trying to go. It seems to me that what they’re trying to do is price you out of the DVD market, to the point where all you’re paying for is streaming.
No discs to ship means less cost to Netflix, which means more of your money can go to purchasing streaming rights for movies and TV shows, the price of which is rising rapidly. So they create two distinct plans, and make you pay individually for them. I’m guessed they’re betting that if people have to choose one plan to keep, they’re going to keep the streaming plan.
The major outcry against the price hike seems to be, essentially, “Your streaming library sucks! Discs are a pain, but everything is available in disc form. Get better streaming content, and then I’ll go streaming-only, but don’t charge me $17 to get all your content.” It’s a fair argument, and I think it’s the (not-very) long-term consequence of this price hike. The price of Netflix is still going to be $7.99, they’re just phasing you out of wanting DVDs.
Update: AllThingsD agrees with me, which means I must be right.