Netflix Price Changes

A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

Image via Wikipedia

Doesn’t it always happen? You feel you’ve discovered the bargain of the century, and many other people discover it when you do.  The bargain becomes not such a great bargain any longer because…the price of your great find suddenly goes up! People want more money in their pockets for something they were doing perfectly ok with charging before.

This great bargain is Netflix. For those of us who have had to cut the over-$100 cable tv prices from their budget, Netflix’ $7.99 for streaming has been a lifesaver. We can still watch some things on television (albeit not live tv). For me and my husband, it’s old Westerns like The Virginian and Wagon Train. For my son and me, it’s cartoons, and some anime. My husband loves the funky Chinese martial arts films (Netflix has tons), and there’s a ton of anime I think you could never get through if you watched 24 hours a day for a year. We’ve watched quite a few fascinating documentaries and there’ve been a couple of “Oh, I’ve always wanted to see this” type of movies.

Ever since we recently signed up, we feel like we’re part of one of the best-kept secrets. We have been telling friends to sign up, and when they come over to hang out and they see Netflix, they want it too.

http://twitter.com/#!/BrennndaM/status/91097633657069569

However, the great deal is blown. Got a letter from Netflix – their prices are pretty much doubling, if you subscribe to streaming + DVD rentals.   I understand that the company is growing, blah blah. With all those millions of subscribers, each paying minimum $10 a month, they certainly cannot be suffering. It’s not like they’re showing brand new content.  There’s always some lame excuse when it comes to large price increases, where greed is the reason but they’re too shy to admit that.

Anyway our letter says:

Dear *Our Family  🙂 *

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

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.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team

We like having the option of getting a DVD once in awhile – not everything is on streaming. Heck not everything is on Netflix! We take forever to watch the DVD that we do get each month. So this is the part of the package that unfortunately we will drop. It’s not worth it to us, especially since the DVD plan leaves a lot to be desired in the selection that’s there.

http://twitter.com/#!/LoisinaMonster/status/91109847898144768

Regardless, the streaming $7.99 is still a good deal for us. We can’t be too picky. We’ll be watching everything in our current DVD queue that we can before September, then will be cutting off the DVD portion of the service. I wish we could keep the service, honestly. Netflix would make the extra $2 off us monthly if they left it alone. However, we’ve re-evaluated everything in the past few years when it comes to our spending, and I will gladly put that $2 toward our grocery bill, and won’t be giving them the $7.99 they want instead.

Lessee…$2 a month saved a month will get me:

  • Canned cat food enough for two weeks of dinners for Echo
  • A can of frozen orange juice for my son for a couple of days of drinking (plus change left over!)
  • A good Lindt chocolate bar (change leftover!) for when I’m really craving chocolate
  • A full carton of eggs – lasts us longer than a week!

I’m sure you can think of tons of things that you could get for $2 saved, let alone $7.99. I won’t let companies dictate to me anymore how much I pay to them for what are really life extras. You raise your prices, and you risk losing my business, some or all. I don’t freaking care anymore. We can do without everything but food, water, shelter and a few clothes on our backs. If companies are not realizing that many people feel as I do, these companies are at risk of having only the clothes on their backs as well.

Even with the changes, I still feel like @BrennndaM above where she can survive without cable because of Netflix. However, that happy feeling of being in love with this service is now gone.

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5 thoughts on “Netflix Price Changes

  1. Hi Lisa,

    When I tried to change my plan to just include 3 DVDs that the letter talks about, they only offer 2 on the plan list. Now I have to call them. Poor organization is a sign that things aren’t going well at Netflix. Beth

  2. bethhavey, you can click to expand each list when you go to sign up for options. I thought mine wasn’t there at first, either, but it was when I found the “more” links (they’re tiny). It’s either a poor design, or they’re trying to fool people into thinking they’re options are limited so they’ll buy a more expensive package. Either way, it’s poor business. They’ll have to deal with a lot of unnecessary phone calls from angry customers.

    Lisa, the new deal actually saves me money, since we’ve never used the streaming. We’re not set up to stream on the TV, and watching on the computer just isn’t as comfortable. So I’m happy about the change at the moment, but they’ll nudge the price up and up as time goes by, then rearrange the plans again, yadda yadda. The last price change I switched from 4 DVDs at once to 3 disks, so it wouldn’t cost me extra. I was shocked to see so many people tweeting about it this time, since price restructuring is so common with any business. I guess it just shows how many people are using Netflix.

    As for the increase, they’re probably trying to get capital to expand into other services, or buy out other companies. The credo with business is if you’re not growing, you’re dying. It’s not a mom and pop store world anymore, every corporation has to be a megacorporation, with fingers in a million pies.

    • I think another reason people are griping is because folks are getting tired of every single freaking service reaching into their pockets for just a dime or dollar more. Some of these services aren’t a necessary, but nearly are so. Maybe a lot of people are just sick of paying so very much for the few services they choose to allow themselves, let alone things they must have (like exorbitant utilities). Even if you choose slimly and selectively, the bargains are diminishing. I still think Netflix, even with the packages split out to DVD and Streaming, is a deal compared to cable.

  3. I fall into a group of people who are basically being shown the door by Netflix, hence my tweet. I get 3-5 blu-rays per month and the streaming is only really used so my son can watch Thomas the Tank Engine which is a few hours a week at most. I pay $11.99 a month now which isn’t great value as it is but $7.99 for ~20 hours of streaming a month and $9.99 for 3-5 blu-rays per month is not at all worth it. It’s cheaper for me to by the DVD’s of the things we stream and rent the occasional blu-ray from Redbox.

    • That you should do! If you are only getting the streaming for your son’s Thomas shows, you could get him a couple of DVDs of that cheap and he’ll be happy for quite some time.However, later, the streaming does have an array of wonderful older cartoon series. My 17-year old son and I still pop on Rugrats or Hey Arnold! (some of the best of the 90’s cartoons) on streaming. As your son gets older, if you’ve dropped streaming, you might want to pick it up again (if you don’t have cable) because it’ll become more of a value to have a selection of things to watch. Or maybe later, there’ll be another service that will have even better selection/value…

      We’re not a gotta-see-the-latest-movies family, so we’ll drop our DVD service. It’s kind of bad because my son just needed to see Beowulf this summer (reading it for school too). We just got the DVD in the mail today so he can do that. I would not want to go to the video store and pay $5 for that. Unfortunately if the situation comes up where we’ll need a DVD of something, we’ll probably have to go that route. Or sign up for the Netflix DVD service for a month then drop it again, which may be a better value actually.

      It’s all a matter of seeing what fits your family and what is best for you.

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