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Now you must choose: Netflix splits DVD and streaming plans

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Netflix (s NFLX) announced changes to its service plans Tuesday, with a move that effectively unbundles its unlimited streaming plan from its DVD-by-mail service.

As we reported last week, Netflix quietly released a new service plan focused entirely on DVD usage. Now the company is taking that as step further, with new service plans designed to give users the choice between streaming or DVDs at $7.99 each. As a result, the company is doing away with the “discount” that had come with subscribing to both services. While previously its streaming-plus-DVD plan cost $9.99, it will now cost $15.98, or the price of both services combined.

In a blog post, Netflix VP of Marketing Jessie Becker announced the new plans and the reasons for the change. According to Becker, when the company began offering its $7.99 streaming-only plan, it didn’t anticipate the DVD-only service. But continuing demand for DVD-by-mail plans meant that asking $2 more for the add-on didn’t make financial sense. So it broke that offering out as its own service.

In addition to the change in plans, Netflix is making a change in its organizational structure: the company is creating a separate team devoted just to the DVD-by-mail service, which will be led by Chief Service and Operations Officer Andy Rendich.

According to the blog post, the change in service plans go into effect immediately for new users, but pricing for existing users will go into effect after September 1, 2011.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Scott Feldstein

17 Responses to “Now you must choose: Netflix splits DVD and streaming plans”

  1. I’m disgusted by Netflix at the moment. MOST of what I want to see is not available to watch instantly, and now they have the gall to want to double my price for it? And their customer service stinks … no email, only phone. Plus there’s no closed captioning on most instant choices. Thanks for nothing from all your deaf, hard-of-hearing, autistic, and social-phobic customers, Netflix. You suck.

    I just checked, and Amazon Prime is $79/year which includes free streaming of all of their 6000 movies and shows. ALL the TV episodes that I wanted but couldn’t get from Netflix are available on Amazon. Now if I can figure out what it will take to get it to work on my TV, I am all set. So long, Netflix.

  2. I’m about to drop Netflix then. Their streaming content is CRAP! I’ll be doing DVD only until I find another service. They have changed my subscription price underneath me for the last time.

      • No, but maybe a series of gradual hikes over time? Effectively, Netflix did a 60% hike (Streaming + 1 DVD) and even after such a huge hike, I think we will see more…
        In any case, once the ISPs tighten their bandwidth limit more, streaming is history. Ditto, if the studios continue to hike pricing for their content a/o throttle the amount of streaming to Netflix. Personally, I will get rid of streaming come September.

  3. I’m too happy with Netflix to give up either streaming or DVD mail. Even with the price bump, I’m still far more satisfied with both pricing and selection than cable. I don’t have to sit through overly loud commercials, or be bothered with the crap that’s on cable now.

  4. I am NOT a Netflix hater when I say this —
    I think this is the beginning of the end for Netflix.

    We cancelled in March after their previous Price Hike and a declining interest in their mediocre streaming library.

    Come Sept. 1st, expect armageddon to begin for Netflix’s stock.

  5. tetracycloide

    I have a really hard time believing the marginal cost for each subscriber is the same for both the DVD and streaming services. One is clearly going to subsidize the other and I have a strong suspicion it will be DVD subscriptions subsidizing streaming.

    That said, $16 for netflix plus $8 for hulu is still far less than even basic cable in my area and the experience infinitely superior.

  6. The true reason is very obvious.

    By breaking apart the services, Netflix positions itself to sell off either side of the company independently. Apple for instance has no interest in mailing Movies to subscribers. But now Netflix has made its streaming business absolutely prime for a buyout by Apple or a similar company.

    Mark these words. Netflix streaming will be sold soon.

  7. Disappointed Netflix Customer

    I’m very disappointed in this change, especially because the DVD delivery and streaming content have complemented one another. Right now, there are things I can’t get on streaming, so that’s why I like having the DVD delivery. If they had the same content on DVD and streaming, then perhaps I’d go for streaming only and be done with it.

    I’m not sure which plan I’ll go with yet, but perhaps I’ll cancel altogether and just check out more DVDs from my local library. They tend to have the majority of what I would get from Netflix, though it has to be watched in a set amount of time.

    • +1

      This kind of pricing makes snese only if there was almost identical content available on DVD and for streaming. Come September, I’ll either go down to a lower plan or cancel altogether. In either case, Netflix will get less money than it currently does for my streaming + 3-DVD plan.