When Netflix announced on Monday that it has decided to raise the subscription prices for those receiving Blu-ray Disc titles--10 percent of its subscribers, according to the company--the predictable occurred: people lashed out, saying Netflix is gouging customers.
In case you missed it, the new fee structure tacks on $1 per tier of the plan you're on. So if you have a one-film-at-a-time plan (two-movie allowance per month), your monthly cost has risen from $4.99 to $5.99. If you want three films at a time (unlimited movie allowance per month), your cost has risen $4, from $16.99 to $20.99. Fees are up substantially on other plans too.
Predictably, many looked at the announcement as Netflix capitalizing on consumers. Those who are upset with the release say the increase is too high. And since Netflix doesn't need to pay for packaging, and it probably gets a discount on media, given the number of copies it needs, they believe that the company is gouging customers.
I contacted Netflix for comment regarding this contention. A representative responded to me within a few minutes. He said the cost of Blu-ray discs is 30 percent higher than that of DVDs, and more of the company's customers are switching to Blu-ray, generating higher operating expenses. A $1 additional charge for Blu-ray access on all plans wasn't cutting it any longer, he said.
The representative then directed me to the company's official blog post on the matter for more information. So after all that, we still don't know how much Netflix pays.
But regardless of the motives behind this deal or the fact that some people are upset, we can't look at Netflix pricing in a vacuum. Quite the contrary, we need to compare its pricing to the competition to determine if it's still the most affordable option on the market.
Much to my surprise, Netflix might have committed an incredible blunder that it needs to address immediately: Blockbuster brick-and-mortar stores now have the more affordable option for standard Blu-ray rentals.… Read more