Chatter about the price hike announced by Netflix last week has cluttered online blogs and social networks as users who want both access to DVDs and instant streaming now have to pay $5 more for both services.
Hours after Netflix announced that instant streaming and DVD rentals would be split into two separate price packages, $7.99 per month for each service, users responded with outrage and dismay. The blog where Netflix detailed the change acquired the maximum 5,000 user comments in only a few hours, while Netflix’s Facebook account received more than 42,000 comments in less than one day. The Facebook post also received 800 “likes.”
Netflix addressed the change in an email sent to subscribers.
“Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add onto our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs. Creating an unlimited DVDs by mail plan (no streaming) at our lowest price ever, $7.99, does make sense and will ensure a long life for our DVDs by mail offering,” the Netflix team said in an e-mail.
Current subscribers won’t see the price change until Sept. 1, but new accounts will see the price change effective immediately. Netflix said it has no plans to grandfather in any old plans after Sept. 1. Users can easily choose to change or delete their account with Netflix by visiting Netflix.com. Many users are choosing to leave Netflix in a mass exodus before Sept. 1. Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and Redbox also offer DVD rentals or online streaming competitive to Netflix.
“We will probably walk away from Netflix DVDs,” said Jennette Fennimore, a subscriber to Netflix for more than five years. “We will just go to Redbox when we want to rent DVDs.”
Netflix announced the change without a press conference. The price increase was posted on blog.netflix.com the same day an email was sent to account holders describing the change. Some customers have felt confused by the sudden and drastic price increase.
“I am more disappointed in Netflix than anything,” said Jessica Klemetson of Torrance, Calif. “It seems like we just had a price increase just a few months ago and now we have to pay $5 more.”
Klemetson said she will join others in canceling a portion of her Netflix service.
Netflix stock has dropped 4.5 percent since the announcement was made. There are a few bright spots, however. Netflix is now available in Latin America as well as Nintendo 3DS and it recently signed with NBC Universal to offer more shows.