Netflix price hike creates social media firestorm

Summary:It seems that people are unhappy with Netflix and its decision to change the pricing plans and effectively raise the price of the DVD rental plan by 60%. Very, very, very unhappy.

It seems that people are unhappy with Netflix and its decision to change the pricing plans and effectively raise the price of the DVD rental plan by 60%. Very, very, very unhappy.

For those of you who've not been keeping up, I'll let my colleague Rachel King explain the changes:

"For subscribers who still want both unlimited streaming and at least the unlimited one DVD out at-a-time plan, they'll have to fork over $15.98 per month (thus, $7.99 + $7.99). For reference, up until now, the rate for the comparative unlimited DVD and streaming plan has been $9.99 per month."

What's not mentioned is the reason behind this change. According to CNN Money, Netflix has been forced to hike prices because it needs to find some extra $2 billion in content costs for the studios next year. That's not walking around money, and it seems that Netflix is asking customers to turn out their pockets to foot this bill. ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan agrees - "Netflix's price changes are all about the dollars."

Netflix throws the phrase "terrific value" around a lot in its announcement of the price changes, but customers feel differently. Very differently. In fact, within minutes of the announcement a social media fireball erupted, with Netflix at its center.

[poll id="651"]

First, there are the comments on the announcement blog post itself. These are pretty dire.

"Are you F#**!!@! kidding me?"

"Way to go again Netflix - Divide and Conquer - EPIC FAIL!!"

"I know I'll be cancelling my service and going with Blockbuster soon."

"Sept.1 I'll be canceling.I do without cable I think I can do without Netflix."

"Peace out. You're streaming selection is horrible anyway."

"Thanks netflix, you just increased my bill too! Currently I am paying 9.99 for 1 DVD and Unlimited Streaming and you want me to pay 15.98!? Tell me how that is cheaper than 9.99."

Netflix also has Facebook comments, which also describe the price changes as a ball of FAIL:

Twitter is also a Netflix bloodbath. The trending topic "Dear Netflix" was the epicenter for most of the hate and rage directed against Netflix.

I did find someone who is still happy with Netflix ...

My take ... well, I don't think Netflix made this move out of greed. The company's bills are going to increase and it needs a way to keep the lights on. That said, I don't think that the company has done a good job of communicating the reason behind the change.

The change might not be all bad either ... it makes people look at their subscription and ask whether they really want/need/use it. It also makes people look around for a different or better suited deal. Also not a bad thing.

Topics: Social Enterprise


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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