Print 63 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Jul 18 at 3:00 PM

The price hike and change in service plans are not sitting well with many Netflix customers, but Netflix already knew this would happen

Two days ago, Netflix announced that it would change its pricing and plans associated with its DVD rental and video streaming services. These changes include separating DVD rental from video streaming entirely, charging $7.99 for one or the other. For both, the cost is $15.98 (the current price for one DVD out at a time and unlimited video streaming is $9.99).

The price hike and change in service plans are not sitting well with many Netflix customers, but Netflix already knew this would happen. In fact, one day before announcing these plans, Netflix told customer service representatives to be prepared for angry callers.

Today, the company even increased the number of personnel in the department to handle the amount of phone calls they've received. "Hundreds" of Netflix employees have been answering phones, and this still caused some callers to have to wait to speak to an employee. The sales representatives have said that many of the calls have been "emotional."

"We tested, we researched, we analyzed," said Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey. "We knew what the reaction would be. We are not surprised. We knew that there would be some people upset by the service and with the price being adjusted."

According to Rich Greenfield, a Wall Street analyst with BTIG Research, Netflix employees have not been giving callers satisfactory responses through the day. Greenfield tested how Netflix's service department was handling the flood of calls by making over 35 calls over a two-hour time period, and said that Netflix employees simply tell customers (who threaten to cancel their subscription) to wait to cancel until September when the new plans/pricing takes place.

"There was simply no promo or 'save' technique to offer us a discount to retain our business," said Greenfield. "This would appear to illustrate that Netflix is simply not concerned with the prospect of losing customers."

In addition, Greenfield said he waited on hold for about 9 to 15 minutes while making these calls.

While customers are up-in-arms, investors are salivating at the Netflix price rise. According to Ingrid Chung, a Goldman Sachs analyst, the higher prices will make up for the cancellations by "driving customers toward more profitable Netflix plans."

"Gross margins should benefit as we believe that the majority of lower-priced (subscribers) were less profitable for Netflix," said Chung.

Chung also mentioned that "lower-priced subscribers" may be drawn to the streaming-only service as well, which could prove to be a successful shift.

Netflix shares increased three percent yesterday after the announcement of the new plans.

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Just wait...
By Raiders12 on 7/14/2011 12:50:29 PM , Rating: 3
This is the 2nd price increase in less than a year. With Netflix's customer base growing, more media integration, and movie studio greed, the prices will only go up. A majority of Netflix's movie studio contracts are set to expire here in the next year. They will expect Netflix to pony up the cash, because 3-4 yrs ago, Netflix wasn't the powerhouse it is now, on almost every media device out. That is the cost of business and cost/demand. Luckily customers have the simple choice of cancellation.

RE: Just wait...
By medavid16 on 7/14/2011 12:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly my thoughts, I'd thumbs up this if i could

RE: Just wait...
By Raiders12 on 7/14/2011 1:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
In a few years it won't be a question of cutting your cable and utilizing Hulu, Netflix, or Blockbuster, but whether you want to pay $50 for digital cable or $50 for streaming service...Got to love capitalism.

RE: Just wait...
By quiksilvr on 7/14/2011 1:03:24 PM , Rating: 3
Except you'll get to choose from multiple sources instead of just two (Cable or Satellite) so that $50 stream price won't happen.

RE: Just wait...
By killerroach on 7/14/2011 1:33:10 PM , Rating: 3
Except they're all getting their content from the same places - monopoly pricing still holds. Regardless of how many streaming services emerge, the major differences will likely be in pricing strategies, with prices among providers offering similar pricing strategy (unlimited streaming, X videos per month, on-demand) and similar amounts of content being pretty much equal.

All "competition" among streaming services does is help develop optimal methods for content delivery and customer service when it's not in the interests of content holders to play into the hands of a price war.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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