Tuesday on the company's official blog, Jessie Becker of Netflix revealed price changes and new plans that will go into effect immediately for new members, and on September 1, 2011 for current members. As a result, the announcement has raked in around 5000 comments in less than 24 hours on the blog alone, with additional rants and offending comments spilling onto the company's Facebook page and across Twitter.
According to Becker, Netflix now offers two unlimited DVD-by-mail plans: 1 DVD out-at-a-time for $7.99 per month and 2 DVDs out-at-a-time for a heftier $11.99 per month. These plans will not include the streaming of movies and TV shows to the subscriber's PC or compatible device, making it a disc-only deal.
As it stands now, Netflix will still offer its original streaming-only plan for $7.99 per month. For those who still want to receive DVDs by mail, customers can subscribe to a bundle deal costing $15.98 a month which essentially combines the streaming-only plan and the 1 DVD out-at-a-time unlimited plan.
So what's the big stink? Previously customers could either choose to pay $7.99/month for unlimited streaming or $9.99/month for unlimited streaming plus 1 DVD out-at-a-time. Now it's either stream or receive by mail, but not both without having to shell out $15.98 per month for both subscriptions simultaneously. In the end, those who previously chose to stream and receive a DVD movie for $9.99 are getting a swift kick in the groin from a six dollar price increase without gaining any additional benefits. Nice.
"Last November when we launched our $7.99 unlimited streaming plan, DVDs by mail was treated as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan," Becker explains. "At the time, we didn’t anticipate offering DVD only plans. Since then we have realized that there is still a very large continuing demand for DVDs both from our existing members as well as non-members. Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs."
The news wasn't received well by customers to say the least. In fact, Netflix customers aren't just mad, they're furious, threatening to cancel their subscriptions altogether. It's bad enough that the streaming library is spotty at best, and that the DVD portion filled the holes with newer releases. But now consumers are required to pay extra? "Way to go again Netflix," writes one anonymous commenter on the Netflix blog. "Divide and conquer. EPIC FAIL!"
Over on Facebook, most of the 37,505 38,284 growing reactions to the announcement were less than positive. Users are even "liking" the Netflix page just to leave a nasty comment. "I will cancel my plan if the proposed increase in my 1 DVD plan goes into effect," writes one user. "And separating the online streaming is a mistake. Amazon, Hulu, etc all stream online ... and have a much better and more complete online library than what is available on Netfix."
"Where's the customer appreciation?" writes another Facebook user. "Loyal customers are being screwed just like the newbies. You could have used preferred pricing to increase customers going into the price hike (say $14.99 for existing customers and people who sign up before Aug 31). Instead you said FU to everyone and now they're all canceling. It's not the $6, it's how you did it!"
Over on Twitter, the comments are just as colorful if not somewhat entertaining. "Good news for Netflix - canceling my subscription was easy," reads one tweet. "Bad news for Netflix - see previous statement." And as with Facebook, the hits just keep rolling in my the second.
Ultimately it looks like a good time to get reacquainted with that Redbox contraption hanging out on the street corner just a few blocks away. Well hey there good-lookin'... what's your special? You got games too? I like games...