Tuesday, July 12, 2011

calming down about netflix

In the summer of 2007, I joined Netflix. Over the past four years, I've been an extremely satisfied customer. I've even blogged (rather dorkily) about my love for Netflix. At first, I loved all the dvd options suddenly available to me. I joined at the beginning of instant streaming, and at first, I could stream eight hours a month. Soon, Netflix removed the time limitations on many plans, and I could get as many dvds per month as I wanted (one at a time) and watch as much instantly as I wanted. Back then, Netflix's streaming library was pretty terrible, but in the last couple years, the streaming options have gotten much better. I'm at the point now where I watch much more instantly than I do on dvd. (This is how I watched Prison Break, Jericho, Parks & Recreation, Monarch of the Glen, Veronica Mars, and Dollhouse--shows that I absolutely loved but would never have tried if not for streaming.)

This afternoon, I heard about Netflix's new price structure. Now, dvd plans and streaming plans are separate, and to get what I currently have--one dvd at a time and unlimited streaming--I'll have to pay almost $16 per month. That's a hike of about 60%.

My first reaction was outrage--how dare they! I soon saw I wasn't alone. Netflix users tweeted their feelings in droves, and "Dear Netflix" was a trending topic. The blog post announcing the changes had 5000 comments the last time I checked, and nearly all the comments I read were negative.

Then, I stopped to think about it. Perhaps this isn't the smartest move on Netflix's part. Perhaps customers will leave in droves. Perhaps Netflix will rethink this and come up with some sort of "bundle." Perhaps Netflix will be just fine. But Netflix is providing a service that I can choose to have or not have. No one is forcing me to pay $16 per month. If I want to get dvds and streaming, then I'll pay the money. If $16 per month for Netflix is too much for me (and it is), then I have a decision to make. Netflix is a luxury, but at $8 per month (the cost of either dvd or streaming), I can afford it. So I just have to decide which plan I want to keep--dvds or streaming. I'm leaning toward streaming right now, but I have until Sept. 1 (the day the new price structure goes into place for current customers) to decide. In the meantime, I'll keep my eye on what's happening, but I'll also keep my sanity!

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