Netflix subscribers learned something very unpleasant today. Starting in September, unlimited DVDs and unlimited streaming will now cost $15.98, a 60% increase over the current rate, $9.99. This is a significant price hike — much more than the most recent increase from $7.99 to $9.99 — and if you ask me, it’s a dealbreaker.
Let’s for a moment take a look at my viewing habits. I like to think of myself as the average inefficient Netflix user: I sometimes rapidly cycle through three or four DVDs in a month, only to go for stretches of weeks without opening that little red envelope. Sometimes, when in a fix for entertainment, I’ll hit up the Netflix streaming, which is highly convenient in that it can appear on my phone at the gym, on my laptop in bed, or on my Wii in the living room. The only problem is that there’s NEVER anything good to watch (unless, of course, you were just aching to finally see Thumbelina). I suppose streaming is good for catching up on old television shows and seasons, but once you’ve gone through the decent fare, it’s slim pickings. On occasion, I might stumble upon something noteworthy, but just as soon as it’s found (ie. Salt), a dustup with a studio (ie. Sony) causes the title to be swiftly pulled from the service without warning. This means that you have to actually move quickly on streaming movies, which sort of undermines the whole idea of “on demand.”
This brings me back to the fare hike. Do I really want to pay $15.98 for an albeit convenient but meager selection of on-demand streaming? And do I also want to drop that coin on DVDs I might take two months to watch? No. This is no longer a good value to me. So, I will choose one of the alternate plans: $7.99 for unlimited streaming or $7.99 for unlimited DVDs. But which to choose? I’m leaning toward the DVDs. Netflix Classic, if you will.
Where do you stand on the issue? Will you accept the price increase? Or will you opt for one of the alternate plans?