Netflix Can Take My Money and … Keep It

keeping-netflixThis week, I learned why Americans suck with money: because everyone is spending their time whining about a Netflix price increase.

If you’re one of Netflix’s 23 million subscribers, I’m sure you’ve read the news that they’re increasing their rates. If you’re on the 1 DVD + unlimited streaming plan, like me, the monthly premium is increasing by 60%. Before you hammer the panic button, let’s remember this 60% represents a mere $6 more a month. Yep, that’s it. If you’re inclined to look at it on a per-year basis (because you like bigger numbers or something), that’s $72 a year.

The situation is comical at this point, with knee-jerk reactions at every corner and people canceling within minutes of getting the infamous email. Others have been acting as if Americans are entitled to inexpensive movies delivered to their mailboxes and unlimited amounts of commercial-free streaming content. This is a product sold by a for-profit company, not a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

While I hate price increases just as much as the next guy, I gotta give this one the old BFD. Sure, I was pissed for about five minutes, but then I returned to rational thinking. Yes, it sucks to pay more. Yes, 60% is a big increase at once. But 60% on top of $10? Is this even worth an ounce of energy thinking about?

Things you could do to get that extra $6 a month (not even going to get into “lattes” this time):
1. Work an extra 30 minutes next month at your $12 per hour job
2. Go out to lunch one less time
3. Invest in Netflix because I’m sure their stock is heading up (take that, haters)

If you’re like me, you have to agree: Netflix is f-ing awesome! I’ve been a member since 2002 (for realz), and I’ve loved it all the way through. A crazy huge selection of movies. Fast turn around time. No late fees. Don’t need to drive anywhere. And, recently, vastly-improved streaming content.

For those that want to go to Netflix competitors, my response would be: what competitors? There’s really no service out there that’s exactly like Netflix right now.

Hulu is good for some television, but the price for the Hulu Plus service is the same as Netflix anyway! Don’t forget that Hulu has a free option, so Hulu Plus doesn’t necessarily get you a ton more stuff for the cost.

Others have brought up Redbox. Personally, I think Redbox sucks. First of all, I have the schlep out to a Redbox location, then schlep the movie back. If I’m feeling lazy, Redbox will charge me every day until I return a movie. Second, unless you like new release, mainstream movies, the Redbox selection is anemic. It’s essentially Pluto to Netflix’s Jupiter in terms of DVDs offered.

If you want to go out to the movie theater (something I rarely do) instead of renting on Netflix, congrats, you’ll have just enough for one and half tickets each month.

What will I do with my plan? I may not change it at all. Yep, I’ll just pay the extra. I’ve had another idea: skip the streaming and just get the unlimited 2 DVD plan for $12 a month. Streaming is cool, but if I can have 2 DVDs at a time, that should cover just about all the watching I can do at a time. Plus, there’s still plenty of streaming options out there on Hulu if I really get bored.

Thanks to Elisa for her post on Forbes for some inspiration for this (and for linking to Louis CK)

Do you have Netflix? What are you doing with your plan?

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photo by: jeknee (hopefully not breaking any unwritten blog rules by using LOlcats on here)

Comments

  1. I’m keeping my Netflix subscription as well because I get to watch like 6 or 7 new movies every month

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think people have to look at things in relative terms rather than absolutes.  Sure, $6 a month isn’t that bad, looking in absolute terms.  But, if you look in relative terms, a 60% increase is a large jump, especially if you don’t think that the service itself has gotten 60% better in the time that you have been a customer.  

    • I actually think the exact opposite is true. If you want to strictly look at relative terms, what if a $1 candy bar jumped 60% in price. Would you react the same way and ask if it’s been improved by 60%? I wouldn’t.

      I think I’m much more alarmed when higher-priced things, like tuition and insurance, jump up even a small percentage, which translates to a higher absolute cost.

      • Anonymous says:

        I look at it in relative terms because t’s easier to compare.  Dollar value increases are more difficult to compare across the board, your candy bar example being a good one: If the price of a candy bar is increased from $1.00 to $1.60 and a car’s price is increased from $17,000 to $19,500 it looks confusing because you have two totally different products with two different price levels.  Taking the relative measures into account is a way to look at all things similarly, so the increase of the candy bar is 60%, but the car only increased by only 14.5%.

        Looking at it in the relative measure, you can more easily compare the impact of a pricing change across different scales when it comes to consumer items

  3. I don’t have Netflix because I didn’t want to the pay $10 a month… the $16 is putting me even further out of their reach.  I have cable… no need to have both IMO.  And I’m not giving up cable any time soon.

    • I agree, Ashley. I don’t have cable (I’m more of a movie watcher), and I don’t plan to get cable any time soon, so I’m sticking with Netflix 🙂  (although I will note that cable costs have increased a lot in the last few years, too)

  4. Netflix customers should be aware by now that the DVDs are a goner.  This really wasn’t about a price increase as it was about dividing people into two camps: DVD users and streaming users.  

    Originally, Netflix was going to be named DVDs-by-mail.  But the company wanted more than DVDs so Netflix it was.  Now they’re just begging to kill off DVDs so they can use that ~$1B in annual postage elsewhere, which I tend to think is a pretty good idea.

  5. 1458833288 says:

    I still use Netflix

  6. Grumpyrumblings says:

    We’re on the 3 disc plan… that used to cost something like $24, but they lowered the price to $20 when they were getting competition from Blockbuster.  Now the price is back up to $24.

    I dislike monopoly power, but I was willing to pay $24/month for 3 discs on Netflix without streaming before… I’m willing to pay the same with streaming now.

    What annoys me most is the way they’ve gimped the ratings… can’t follow friends, and now I can’t even tell if someone is a reviewer whose taste I value since they’ve even gotten rid of icons.

    • I used to love the friends feature, too! I was bummed when they got rid of that. I agree, it’s still a great deal. No one cares to look at the historical prices, just the most recent changes, which I don’t think does it justice. I don’t like monopolies either, but I think there are monopolies that do a lot more financial damage than does Netflix in the U.S.

  7. Nicely put. Netflix aside, it is only a few bucks a month. However, I despise monthly charges of any sort. I would rather go through all my bills and find a way to get a 10% discount using the same argument. “it’s only a few dollars”.

  8. Don’t currently have Netflix,  but really, six extra bucks a month is a few less packs of gum.

  9. MyFriendJen says:

    I am planning to cancel my Netflix on August 31, because of the price increase…but then I’ll start it up again in November and keep it through Winter, cancel again, start again in the summertime.  Netflix keeps my Que for me.  We have cable and TIVO (and love TV, obviously) so I will spend a bit more time setting up recordings so there is always something on when we want it.  

    • That makes sense, Jen. I don’t have cable, but if I did, I’d probably choose between that or Netflix. To me, having Netflix is a great deal compared to paying for cable.

  10. Leah G Fulford says:

    PREACH. Oh my goodness, someone with a rational mind! I canceled my cable about 2 weeks before the price increase, and I’m TICKLED PINK to pay them a little extra money. $120 for cable/internet down to $10 for Netflix and $20 for internet.

    And can we talk about how nearly every TV station posts their shows FOR FREE online?

    I don’t care if I don’t watch the brand new Top Chef right when it’s playing. It’ll be on the internet in less than 24 hours.

  11. I was irritated at first, but when I compared this to what the future might’ve been with Blockbuster, I calmed myself.

    Remember running to the store to drop of dvds before the deadline?  

  12. My wife just saw the pic for this article and thinks it’s awesome. Good find. I wouldn’t worry about the graphics.

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