Netflix: back where it all started

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Surprising, but looks like Netflix just went back to where it was in November of 2010 when it decided to introduce unlimited streaming plans. Kinda. I wrote a short rant on how they were trying to chase away DVD customers by raising up prices and justifying it with “well, we’re doing more streaming now”.

And now Netflix has finally done the logical thing and split out “just DVDs” plans. Unlimited DVDs only for $8 (one at a time) or $12 (2 at a time; there are some reports that 3 at a time are available too for $16), which is a tad cheaper than what prices were right before they jacked them up back in November. So, in the end, “mail only” customers are back where they were last year. Or, rather, those, who haven’t cancelled thanks to relentless price increases (and nice little “release windows”).

Of course the same people who were harping about streaming all the time and not even touching that extra DVD-by-mail are now ripping their hairs out and whaling about that option being twice as expensive (you have to get both streaming only and one-at-a-time plans). I suppose Netflix could have offered some sort of a discount for that particular combo, but I guess this group of customers really is not that large, vocal though they are.

Overall, I agree way more with this price restructuring, than what Netflix was doing before. Those on severely capped internet plans, or with no desire to stream anything, are back to reasonable unlimited rental.

I suppose streaming-only users will also be subjected to another nasty price shock next year — right when major content licenses will have to be renegotiated, and CNN already mentioned that what cost $180 million could cost Netflix almost $2 billion. Hopefully physical media subscribers won’t be punished for content providers’ greed.

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