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Summary:

While streaming is all the rage these days, Netflix hasn’t given up on DVDs entirely: The company has quietly launched a new page where users can sign up for an unlimited DVD-by-mail package that matches the $7.99 price of its unlimited streaming offering.

netflix dvd

While streaming is all the rage these days, Netflix hasn’t given up on DVDs entirely: The company has quietly launched a new page where users can sign up for an unlimited DVD-by-mail package that matches the $7.99 price of its unlimited streaming offering.

New users that go to dvd.netflix.com can sign up for an account and start a free trial of the DVD-only service. Once the month is over, users will be billed $7.99 a month into perpetuity — or until they cancel, whichever comes first.

The new plan is targeted at users that like its DVD-by-mail service but aren’t really interested — nor do they want to pay for — its streaming capabilities. Previously users could choose between paying $9.99 a month for unlimited streaming and one DVD out at a time, or they could pay $4.99 for a plan that enabled them to rent just two DVDs by mail a month.

Netflix has been fairly quiet about its DVD-by-mail service, de-emphasizing that part of the business as it pushes its streaming subscription plan. Last fall, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced on an earnings call that viewers watched more streaming video than DVD content for the first time, and much of the company’s investment has been focused on securing new streaming rights. That focus on streaming has paid off for the company: Netflix subscribers grew by 69 percent over the past year, with the company reporting 23.6 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.

But that emphasis has also upset some of its oldest customers: those that originally signed up for its DVD-by-mail service but haven’t taken to the streaming service yet. The company faced a bit of a user uproar when it removed the “Add to DVD Queue” button from its user interface on connected devices, for instance. And a recent redesign of its website, meant to provide more instant access to streaming titles, also took away some functionality that DVD-by-mail users found useful.

The release of an unlimited DVD-only plan, as well as a website that emphasizes the DVD library and DVD queue, should help appease those users who have been frustrated by Netflix’s streaming focus. Netflix is letting those customers know that it still values them and the legacy part of its business.

  1. What about the instant plan? Is that going to go down in price too or remain the same?

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  2. What about the premium streaming service (lets say $30 a month) where all the movies available on dvd (including the latest dvd releases) can be watched on-line.

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    1. That sounds like a great idea.

      Hasting’s one smart dude, though, so it’s probably either in the works or not currently possible.

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    2. Lots of people have many ideas for Netflix streaming plans. What they don’t realize is that if Netflix could have its way, it would indeed stream all the movies/shows and totally retire DVD rental service. The only thing keeping Netflix from going 100% streaming is that they are not able to get permission from rights-holders to do so.

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      1. Exactly. It’s not up to Netflix to “just stream everything.” Many rights holders are holding out on offering their property anywhere.
        And to be honest, the last thing I would want Netflix to do is attempt to emulate Hulu with their horrible Hulu Plus Service.

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  3. Reed is on record saying that users should NEVER expect all streaming content EVER. The streaming licenses for all the good content in the world are far too expensive for any company to ever acquire.

    In the slides I linked to, he says you should think of netflix as suplemental (like owning a motorcycle in addition to a car). Sure, some people get by with just a motorcycle, but not many.

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    1. While I agree that streaming licences are very expensive now and sometimes totally unavailable, I wouldn’t say we should ‘never’ expect an all-streaming future. It’s going to happen sooner or later. DVDs are going to be as passe as floppy disks.

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  4. DVDs were an anomoly. No TV station has ever bought the license to ALL CONTENT, and no web site will ever be able to do it either. DVDs, since they were physical goods that an owner had the right to do whatever they wanted with, were kind of a loophole. Everything will be available by streaming for sure, but it will be from a variety of destinations, with a variety of pricing models.

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  5. Give, entirely, up on DVDs w/NFLX. Go ‘live-streaming.’ Why are you sitting in your recliner waiting for US snail-mail twice a week for a DVD movie from Netflix (NFLX)? I mean, huh? really? …and, WHY? What are you, some kind of lame-brain from the 19th Century?? You can get live-streaming from NFLX for $7.99/mo (that would be 7 dollars and 99 cents a month – get it?). This tiny package includes ALL the freaking movies you can watch 24/7/365, one after another, with no commercials until you freaking die – in your armchair – in your living room – and you can ‘Pause’, ‘Forward’, ‘Backward’, ‘New movie’, ‘Stop’ — whenever you want with the click of a button. DVDs? Fo’get about that lame stuff! Drag your butt into the 21st Century and get a LIFE!

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    1. Only one problem – big problem – very little of the decent and current movies are available for streaming. I would just go for streaming if that was possible, but until that happens, I still need DVDs coming

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  6. It won’t be anytime soon but everything will eventually be streaming.

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    1. All the new movies are already available for streaming on sites like Vudu, Amazon, etc. This is not a technology issue. The issue is about the economics of streaming on a flat fee for unlimited streaming. The balance between a flat fee that the consumer is willing to pay vs. cost to acquire the streaming rights for all the new movies is just not feasible. We will definitely move away from DVDs, blurays etc to online streaming. It is just that we will always have two models- 1. flat fee for streaming some movies and 2. Pay per view.

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      1. Vision hit the nail on the head. Nothing more to say here!

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