By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11:20 pm
My friend and former colleague Ed Albro of PCWorld thinks some of the angst over Netflix’s price hikes is a tad overwrought.
I'd like to think my coverage has been reasonable. For me, Netflix isn't compelling enough for a 60% price hike. Actually, the disc rentals may be (aside from that Blu-ray surcharge). But I don't value their streaming service enough to carry on. HBO Go and Hulu Plus better suit my needs.
Also, not enough folks are talking about Crackle – it's got commercials and streams in SD, but they offer all sorts of compelling Sony content for iPhone, Roku, and other platforms.
I don't mind the Netflix price hike for several reasons. We don't have cable at out house. We use a combination of a digital antenna, Hulu Plus, and Netflix instead. Sure, we miss out on some programming, but this hack saves us a ton of money. All in all, we now pay about $30/month for these services as opposed to the exorbitant and ever rising costs of cable and satellite. Plus, Ed Albro is right. Netflix provides unsurpassed customer service and value.
The backlash against the backlash doesn't do it for me. People are angered by the price hike because the Netflix streaming library is mediocre to horrible, and it's gotten worse, not better, over the last year. Physical DVDs are absolutely vital if the service is to provide any value. If Netflix raised its price to $20, but committed to having 40,000 titles available for streaming within a year, there wouldn't be outrage. And, yes, I fully realize that it's studio greed that keeps Netflix from expanding its library, but that's largely irrelevant. They're the ones who want to be a streaming media company, so if they can't figure out a way to get media to stream that people actually want to watch, why is it my problem?
We do the same at our house. Even with the price hike, which I don't think the plan we're on is going up that much, its still cheaper than cable. I'm going back and watching a bunch of old shows that I missed when they were on originally. I'm never at a loss for something to watch. I also hate how people keep saying it's going up 60%. While true it needs to be looked at in context. If their service was $100 and it was going up 60% then yeah that's a big deal. But my plan is going from $14.99 to $19.98. That's only $5 a month, not a big deal.
I think it’s completely silly that Netflix would raise there prices. Especially since their competition Blockbuster just lowered their prices and is offering several deals. Right now because of the price increase Blockbuster is offer Netflix customers a 30 day free trial with them. As an employer of DISH Network I can tell you that you can sign up for Blockbuster total access through them as a new customer and get 3 months free. Check out that deal through this link. http://bit.ly/iH7nwg I personally have always liked Blockbuster better, because I like watching new releases and Blockbuster releases new movies 28 days before Netflix.
So many uninformed people, and so many people so unable to sort out even slightly complicated issues. But Netflix didn't help things by first setting the right narrative and anticipating my first sentence above.