Netflix introduces new plans and prices; doing away with combined unlimited plans for DVDs and streaming

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
July 12th, 2011

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In a somewhat surprising move, Netflix announced this morning (via their blog) a number of changes to their services, including new plans and prices. The biggest change announced is that Netflix is doing away with plans that combine unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming. Netflix will be splitting that current plan into two plans - an unlimited DVD option and an unlimited streaming option. Though the unlimited DVD plan will be Netflix's cheapest ever ($7.99 a month), duplicating what was once a $9.99 per month option for all unlimited services will now cost $15.98 a month. Cue screams from faithful Netflix-ers now.

The blog goes on to explain the company's reasoning for such a change, basically hinging on the persistence of DVDs as a demanded service by customers, not a soon-to-be-phased-out add-on that the service once made it out to be. You can read the entire blog entry after the break. Netflix customers, what do you think of these changes?

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"Jessie Becker, here to share two significant changes at Netflix with you.

First, we are launching new DVD only plans. These plans offer our lowest prices ever for unlimited DVDs – only $7.99 a month for our 1 DVD out at-a-time plan and $11.99 a month for our 2 DVDs out at-a-time plan. By offering our lowest prices ever, we hope to provide great value to our current and future DVDs by mail members. New members can sign up for these plans by going to

Second, we are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into separate plans to better reflect the costs of each and to give our members a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan or the option to subscribe to both. With this change, we will no longer offer a plan that includes both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail.

So for instance, our current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming), for $7.99 a month.

The price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). For new members, these changes are effective immediately; for existing members, the new pricing will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

Why the changes?

Last November when we launched our $7.99 unlimited streaming plan, DVDs by mail was treated as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan. At the time, we didn’t anticipate offering DVD only plans. Since then we have realized that there is still a very large continuing demand for DVDs both from our existing members as well as non-members. Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs. Creating an unlimited DVDs by mail plan (no streaming) at our lowest price ever, $7.99, does make sense and will ensure a long life for our DVDs by mail offering. Reflecting our confidence that DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us, we are also establishing a separate and distinct management team solely focused on DVDs by mail, led by Andy Rendich, our Chief Service and Operations Officer and an 11 year veteran of Netflix.

Now we offer a choice: Unlimited Streaming for $7.99 a month, Unlimited DVDs for $7.99 a month, or both for $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). We think $7.99 is a terrific value for our unlimited streaming plan and $7.99 a terrific value for our unlimited DVD plan. We hope one, or both, of these plans makes sense for our members and their entertainment needs.

As always, our members can easily choose to change or cancel their unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both by visiting Your Account."

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  • Brian Kelley

    I don’t mind the changes at all. This is still very economical for me. I don’t
    watch TV shows so cable is a huge waste for me. To subscribe to the digital tier at
    $50+/month just to get access to the option to pay additional for VOD new
    releases is far more expensive than these plans, even at their increased price.
    Splitting the business and charging seperately makes sense in order to order to
    grow the streaming segment, give the studios what they want so they agree to
    more offerings there and to keep the DVD-by-mail segement operating in the same
    manner as it always has (Netflix has been banking on that going way but the demand remains and they have to cater to it). I think people can easily piecemeal plans from a
    variety of services to get what they want. The pricing plans have been a
    bargain till now in my opinion, I think they are just now catching up with their market value. It
    remains to be seen if people will pay them (which will PROVE their worth in the
    free market once and for all if they do) but I suspect they will.

  • Netflixstreaminguser

    Honestly, I think if they actually offered the same movies they have on DVD to instant streaming then there would be less of a demand for DVD’s. They don’t have all the movies on streaming and most of the ones I want to watch are only available through DVD. They need to move forward with technology if they want to see a decrease in DVD use. Having streaming copies of all of their movies would be more cost efficient and would also make their customers happier.

  • Josh Frink

    This really doesn’t affect me as I switched to streaming only as soon as it was an option. For me, and I suspect a lot of the DVD-by-mail users, the movie’s I’d get on DVD were just a bonus that was as much of a hassle as a benefit. If I didn’t watch them that day and get them back in the mail I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I don’t use cable so a Netflix/Hulu combo has become my TV and I just rent DVD’s from Redbox when something comes out that I want to see.

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