Print 83 comment(s) - last by lazylazyjoe.. on Jul 22 at 4:48 PM

DVDs cost Netflix 75 cents each to ship while it only costs 5 to 10 cents to deliver the streaming equivalent.
The company underestimated demand for DVD rentals, and had to cover the costs of streaming rights

Last Tuesday, Netflix announced that its pricing and plans were changing, which resulted in a price hike for users that currently only pay $9.99 for DVDs and streaming. Effective September 1 (for existing customers), this price will jump to $15.98, while DVD-only plans and video streaming only plans are $7.99 for one or the other.

This angered Netflix customers to the point that Netflix had to bring in additional customer service representatives to handle the amount of phone calls pouring in. Customers also voiced their opinions on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, saying that the pricing was sudden and unfair.

But Netflix has outlined a couple of reasons as to why it has made these price changes according to USA Today. First, it underestimated the demand for DVD rental. Second, it has to cover the expenses for licensing rights from movie studios and television networks in order to provide better content. 

Netflix has been working to move customers more toward streaming since November, when it released a $7.99 streaming-only plan. This is because DVDs are more expensive to ship at 75 cents per disc, while sending a streamed internet video only costs about 5 to 10 cents. 

But with much of the newer releases being DVD rentals only, Netflix customers have flocked to this particular service while still enjoying content that is part of the streaming service as well. 

This demand for DVDs led Netflix to both introduce a DVD-only plan for $7.99 (as well as the steaming-only plan for $7.99) and to heighten the price of DVD/streaming bundle packages from $9.99 to $15.98. 

While adjusting prices and plans for DVD rentals was an important step, Netflix also understood that it had to beef up the streaming service by making more movies/television shows available in order to lure customers in that direction. To do that, it needs streaming rights, and streaming rights are pretty expensive.

In the first three months of 2011, Netflix spent $192 million on streaming rights. Last year, it spent $406 million on its streaming library. Next year, licensing rights costs are expected to jump between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, mainly because movie studios and television networks want a large piece of Netflix's successful pie. As of March 2011, Netflix had 23.6 million users. 

"Netflix is under enormous pressures from the content owners to write bigger and bigger checks," said Arash Amel, research director for digital media at IHS Screen Digest. "It had to find the money from somewhere."

Netflix also has a desire to bring in more money as it grows, since it has actually lost money over time. At the end of 2006, Netflix received a monthly average of $15.87 per subscriber (this was before streaming launched). During the first quarter of this year, it received a monthly average of $11.97 per subscriber.

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RE: Screwed either way
By Motoman on 7/18/2011 12:36:00 PM , Rating: 0
But Moto by your own numbers, which we'll use for arguments sake, you can plainly see that marketing to 80% of a base is more profitable than the 20%.

...which is why my comment starts with "not for everyone." 80% isn't everyone - and realistically, the 80% number is too high, because there are people who live in urban areas that can't get high-speed internet either.

Sure it is. Better broadband is in their future, thus, streaming. If, in fact, a whole fifth of the country has broadband options as poor as yours.

Yes, broadband is in their future...and always will be. It's not economically feasible to get broadband to every house in the USA. This isn't South Korea where everyone lives in a high-density market with little to no space in-between them...the vast empty spaces with sparse populations throughout the US make it very difficult to justify. And I'm thinking the 1/5 number is pretty conservative.

Curiously, 3mb DSL should be enough to stream standard definition Netflix just fine. So how is it that Netflix isn't "usable" for you guys? If you can watch Youtube, you should be able to watch Netflix.

It isn't. Non-stop stuttering and buffering. And Netflix will send you a low-quality feed anyway...what you wind up with is *maybe* as good as VHS quality. Youtube *usually* works OK, so long as you're just watching low-res stuff. HD is out of the question, for the same endless stuttering and buffering issues.

Same for watching a TV show from the network's website. We've suffered through a few stuttery NCIS episodes for example, streamed from the CBS website - but only because it's free.

Same effect throughout everyone else we know on similar connectivity. And for those on cellular air cards/wifi hotspots - forget it. Firstly because there's no chance in hell you're streaming anything on one of those, and secondly because you only get about 5Gb/month with most contracts anyway.

Ultimately the point is that there's a large portion of the US population for which streaming categorically isn't a viable option...and probably never will be.

RE: Screwed either way
By Spuke on 7/18/2011 1:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
Broadband is definitely coming to the sticks!! One of the local ISP's is offering wireless internet for those that live in the boons. The cool thing about wireless is you get the same speed up and down. It was 1.5M until two months ago when they upgraded to 6M. I consistently get 4.5 to 5M. No issues with Netflix at all. Even the ISP's owner (sometimes he answers the phone personally) calls our antenna "the Netflix antenna". The connection is so stable I even got a Hulu Plus account. I can actually watch Youtube videos in HD (I had to wait for it to buffer before on SD). I would check around and see if there's a local ISP that offers better services.

RE: Screwed either way
By JediJeb on 7/18/2011 3:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 1.5M connection through ATT DSL and I can run netflix pretty well. Only occasionally do I get a buffering and that is when something decides to update on my computer running in the other room. I do only have SD since I am still using my 31" Mitsu CRT but the pic on it is probably better with Netflix than it is with DirecTV.

I am about 5 miles out from town and we just got DSL here last year, and I am near the end of the line. It may be coming to everyone but it definitely isn't here yet. Also with the hills here it would be hit or miss for most wireless broadband because even though I have full cell signal at my house, a quarter mile down the road has no cell signal at all.

I also would consider your 20% rural population pretty conservative, I think there are more people living outside the reach of most broadband than gets counted as such.

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