Netflix: Will you Take Your Popcorn and Go Somewhere Else?

By July 14, 2011Media, Social Media

I am not surprised at all about the Netflix announcement that they’ll be raising rates and separating DVD rental from streaming fees.

Come on: how many have you said or thought, for real? We’re paying one price and we can stream all we want AND have DVDs delivered to our house?

I love Netflix and have been a devoted subscriber for more than seven years. I’ve bought the service for parents, grandparents and my sister’s family. I’ve streamed movies on my iPad and watched whole seasons of premium channel TV shows (I love The Wire) on DVD.

The news, though, has seriously pissed off fans, leading to assumptions that Netflix is about to lose its hold on our hearts and our entertainment dollars. The company announced the changes via blog post generating (as of this writing) more than 11,000 comments, most negative, about the additional costs. Most people complain about the lack of selection for streaming movies, vs. what’s available on DVD. It’s a tough choice to make, but at an additional, at least $6 per month per household, one that most people will consider.

The announcement and backlash has spawned dozens of blogger recommendations for alternatives to Netflix for those taking their money and moving on.

I feel a lot of loyalty to the service and will approach the change this way; we’re planning to cut back to one DVD out at a time, and keeping the unlimited streaming. My hope is that the streaming library will improve — and fast — even if its in response to the droves moving away from Netflix.

As far as the way Netflix chose to share the information, I think time will tell whether the jump all the way into the pool approach was helpful or harmful. They could have soft pedaled it, floating the idea that they might be looking at rate changes, or done it incrementally, over time. But instead, they went ahead with the full announcement, left themselves open to feedback, comments and even hatred on their blog and on Facebook. This was brave and admirable. Now, what will they DO with that feedback? Will they back down? Change direction? Stick to their guns? Time will tell.

The changes go into effect September 1, 2011.

What do you think about the way the information was released? Are you a Netflix user? Will you switch to something else, or change the way you subscribe, based on these changes, or do you still think Netflix is the greatest thing since film was invented?



  • MollyFulton says:

    My response was just like yours. It has been a super good deal for so long. I don’t care to pay more, but it’s still worth it to me. If the streaming choices were better, I wouldn’t give a rip about discs at all. I figured I’d do just as you’ve suggested: cut back to one DVD in Sept when the rates go up, and then wait for the “watch instantly” library to catch up with demand.

  • CvlKulow says:

    We haven’t yet figured out what we’ll do with our Netflix subscription. I just want to add that I think businesses often create customer relation problems for themselves when the offered default is an opt-in to a more expensive plan.

  • Alice says:

    I think I’m going to ditch the streaming due to annoying catalogue issues, like starting a series and having it disappear from streaming rotation, having only some of a series available (e.g., Iron Man is not available, but Iron Man 2 is), and the generally poor streaming catalogue. I’ll keep my DVD subscription … for now. The price has gone up steadily, despite the fact that it’s unlikely their cost has increased at anything approaching the same rate.I was a very early subscriber and have had the same plan since the beginning. Initially, it cost me $18.99/month. Quickly, it dropped to $14.99. After a few years, it climbed to $16.99, despite the obvious economies of scale they experienced as their business grew. To their credit, it stayed constant for a few years. When they added streaming, the price went up nearly three dollars—it wasn’t free. Now, they want several more?

    I stayed loyal through class action suits (I can’t remember how many times I got a bonus rental as part of a settlement), through multiple issues with streaming quality, and through lots of fun evenings spent watching a DVD or streaming selection. My honey and I have done long distance dates via Netflix.The change is an odd move in a poor economy. There were lots of ways they could have addressed whatever their financial concerns might be that would be easier to swallow. One of the most irritating things (and I know it’s irrational, but isn’t the heart of marketing attached to the irrational?) is the idea that I go from having one account to having two. It feels unnecessarily complicated.

    Another irritating thing is how much money I’ve sent them for modest use of the service. I think it would have been smart to grandfather people who have been consistent customers for a long time. Maybe it wouldn’t have been practical. Maybe their customer base size went flat some years ago and grandfathering would have included too great a portion of it.

    At this point, given my use pattern, the proposed increase feels like too much. To pay almost 70% more than the best price for no real increase in use (when I stream, I use fewer DVDs and vice versa) feels almost punitive. Why be loyal to a company that has had HUGE success in the stock market, yet thinks nothing of asking me to pay more and more for the same service?

  • Alice says:

    Meant to add that it’s likely I’ll look into Hulu or other streaming offerings, rather than keep Netflix’s streaming. Also irrational? Maybe, but it’s what’s on my mind.