July 20, 2011 1 Comment
For several years, off and on, I have been a customer of Netflix. As technology changes, they are adapting their business model. They now offer both Blu-ray and regular DVD’s. In addition, many movies and TV shows are available through online streaming. For the past couple of years, I have been on the one DVD at a time plan, which offers unlimited streaming. Starting soon, the cost of these services will dramatically increase. My current plan costs about $10 per month, but to keep what I have now, I would need to absorb an approximate 60% price increase.
Netflix is separating DVD plans from streaming. I can keep my one DVD at a time, or I can have streaming; or I can keep both and pay the increase. Netflix has not offered any spin to suggest that this is in any way beneficial to customers. In fact, they said in an email to customers, that the new prices are meant to reflect the costs of providing each service. (They could have said that they would be able to provide more content online with the price increase, but it is interesting that they did not.)
I have generally been happy with Netflix, and utilize a box connected to my TV to stream content. I do not watch much broadcast TV, and do not subscribe to cable or satellite services. Since Netflix announced their price increase, I shopped around to see what alternatives exist for people like me.
For DVD’s, there is a service called GreenCine. They offer a similar plan to Netflix, one DVD by mail at a time, for about $10 per month. They are not as “mainstream” as Netflix, though. They have more independent and alternative movie content. Sounds OK, but I like the offerings from Netflix, and the cost is about the same. No compelling reason for me to switch.
For streaming, Amazon offers Instant Video. New releases can generally be rented for about $4, and purchased for $10-$15. A bit pricey if you watch more than two movies per month though. However, if a person pays an annual fee for Amazon Prime, they can get access to a Netflix style library of mostly older movies and TV shows for unlimited viewing. (Prime customers also get free two day shipping on Amazon orders.) Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, which is cheaper than Netflix. The available library at Netflix is still much larger though. For the Amazon junkie though, the value of Prime seems like a good one. I like Amazon, but not so much as to take the plunge on a Prime account. At least not yet. If they add more titles to their unlimited streaming, I could see signing up for it.
For the immediate future, I think I will get new releases on DVD from Redbox, where I can rent them for about $1 per night. For older content, I will keep streaming from Netflix, but drop their DVDs altogether. In the coming months, Redbox is planning to start its own streaming service. How that will compare to what Netflix is offering is yet to be seen. Also, Amazon will keep adding to its online content, and is not to be ignored.
- Netflix Options (businessinsider.com)
- How to Ditch Netflix and Still Watch (Almost) Everything You Want [NetFlix] (gizmodo.com)
- Why Netflix Raised Its Prices (pogue.blogs.nytimes.com)