Netflix Hikes Rates and Splits DVD and Streaming Plans

What began as Netflix appeasing its disc rental customer base yesterday turned into an all out restructuring of its plans and many unhappy customers today.

Yesterday news broke via leaks that Netflix would be offering a new $7.99 DVD and Blu-ray-only rental plan targeted at customers who had no intention of streaming their media online. At the time it was assumed that Netflix would continue offering a DVD/Blu-ray and streaming plan priced at $9.99.

Netflix shocked their customers and potential customers today by formally announcing not only the DVD/Blu-ray-only plan, but also a streaming-only plan and a new significantly higher price for the combined plan. How much higher? Customers will be paying $15.98 instead of $9.99 in the near future, a hefty 60% rate hike.

The $7.99 DVD/Blu-ray plan will allow customers to take out 1 DVD or Blu-ray at a time. If customers want to take out a second, they’ll need to enroll in a pricier DVD/Blu-ray plan that will cost $11.99 a month.

Neflix’s rate hike for the combined plan could send customers currently paying $9.99 a month to either Redbox or a combination of Redbox and one of the more focused Netflix rental plans. The plan reorganization could also push more people into the streaming option who previously were checking out a disc here and there versus regularly.

Netflix is hoping more people using Redbox exclusively will take a hard look at their $7.99 plan and consider signing up. Once in, Netflix could work on converting those customers to the streaming plan where they’d love to have the majority of their customers eventually.

Across social media today, Neflix customers expressed their discontent with the new price plans. Some vowed to empty their disc queue immediately and reassess staying with the service. Others threw in the towel in disgust immediately.

New customers will have no option but to sign up for one of the new price plans effective today. Existing customers have until September 1 to decide whether to remain on the combined plan and pay 60% more, switch to one of the focused plans for significantly less but lose an option for viewing media, or leave the service entirely and rely on cable, Redbox, VOD, online or other sources.

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