The internet is all a Twitter with criticism for Netflix. Yesterday in a post on the company blog from CEO Reed Hastings, the company announced it’s plan to split streaming and DVD offerings into two distinct brands with separate websites and billing. Customers received the news, including an apology for poor communication preceding pricing and plan structure changes two months ago, via e-mail.
Both changes are being widely criticized across the social web. On the severing of streaming and DVD services, I’m neutral. I suspect the company has researched enough before the announcement to be confident the benefits will outweigh the risks over the long haul. I was ringside for a similar rebranding and name change when social media advertizing company Izea. The change from PayPerPost as both product and corporation to Izea the corporation as the umbrella for explained services including PayPerPost, SocialSpark and SponsoredTweets wasn’t popular with bloggers who worked for them. The company forum was filled with impassioned discussion of how foolish it was to change it. Flash forward, and Izea has gone public, acquired a competing Twitter advertizing service and landed many nationally known brands. Obviously, founder and CEO Ted Murphy knew what he was doing.
There is also a matter of audience. I know a few people living in too rural an area to benefit from streaming service who how don’t want to pay for service they cannot use. I hope they sign up under the Qwikster brand. It’s a great service, better than video stores or Redbox, but not as good as streaming. I would propose the new brand’s users aren’t as social media savvy as the streaming centric, so their voices are not being heard.
I didn’t find the price increase in July unreasonable. The basic package went from $9.99 for unlimited streaming plus unlimited DVDs, one out at a time to $7.99 for unlimited streaming with separate plans available for DVDs starting at $7.99 for unlimited DVDs, one out at a time.
At the time, I was too happy about all five Star Trek series being offered streaming to complain about what they need to charge to provide exactly what I want to watch.
Even with the heady pleasure of watching endless hours of Star Trek leveling off, I still find the prices reasonable. It is easy to do the math on how much the price increased.
($7.99 + $7.99) > ($9.99)
We are still talking, I humbly submit, about peanuts for the entertainment offered. Peanuts!
Since October when I canceled cable, Netflix has been our major sort of programing. Chris brought Hulu Plus when he moved in with me in March, but it is seldom used compared to daily Netflix usage. My Big Bang Theory fix comes from CBS.com where they post new episodes a couple days after original air date. We could cancel both DVD service with Netflix and Hulu Plus, even give away every DVD in the house, and never run out of things we really want to watch.
The outrage I’m seeing but not feeling towards Netflix has a simple source: Comparing what Netflix charges not to what they have charged in the past rather than the cost of services Netflix replaces.
Is there cable or satellite plan under $50 or $60 dollars a month.
Buying DVDs, around $15 a pop, and BluRay, around $25.
Remember renting DVDs at Blockbuster a decade ago? It was around five bucks for a new release and better take out a loan if you didn’t return the thing on time.
No one can convince me Netflix is less than the best entertainment value available. I suspect when the grumbling is over, most customers will stick around for lack of something better. Dollar for dollar, hour for hour of use, it’s fantastic.
*Not a sponsored post. I simply love me some Netflix.