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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Netflix price increase angers customers, Blockbuster sees new opportunity



Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz since yesterday, when Netflix announced a drastic price increase on their service. For most people the increase will be 50 percent if they want to continue with streaming video and DVD rentals in the mail. For those who already have accounts the previous pricing structure will remain in effect until September 1. For new memberships the increased prices are in effect now.


I had the $11.99 per month plan which allowed unlimited streaming and DVD (including Blu-ray) rentals per month. In an email from Netflix I received yesterday I summarily was told that the same service would now cost me $17.98 a month. DVD rentals and streaming videos are now being billed as separate services, with each costing about the same as the combined service was before, hence the increase.

Netflix customers are very angry about this and many have stated plans to dump the DVD rental portion of the service or just drop Netflix completely. On the Netflix blog and Facebook page there are thousands of scathing comments from customers with more than 30,000 comments on Facebook as of this morning. A bunch of Facebook events and one group page has been formed, with the intent of rallying customers to leave Netflix on August 31. Netflix has not responded to the backlash so far.


Overnight, it looks like Blockbuster saw an opportunity to win back some business and sent out an email offering DVD rentals by mail without a subscription. Blockbuster, kicked to the ground and left for dead by Netflix, has closed many local stores but has kept breathing, and this move by Netflix may get them off life support. On the Blockbuster Facebook page many Netflix customers were saying they are coming back to the the big B.


It's hard to understand what Netflix was thinking when they made this move because they had a loyal customer base and a stronghold on the online movie rental market with 23 million subscribers. The streaming service is fantastic and we use use it in the Gadget Guy household on multiple devices. It would be nice if the movies were more current, but that's what we used the DVD service for. Now though, we'll likely dump the DVD service and use Red Box or the Blockbuster store in our neighborhood that used to be our movie mecca.

How do you feel about what Netflix did? Are you planning to change your service or leave Netflix completely? Share your thoughts.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 11:04am]


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