Netflix Is Feeling the HD Heat

Well as it seems I can not go too many posts without talking about the wonderful state of our economy. But the article you are about to enjoy is a surprising one. I mean, we see companies that are closing down left and right, like Circuit City, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Prince Paper just to name a few, but there are ones that are growing with each passing day. The firm I work for, for example, has been growing non stop since I began researching them over a year ago. There are a lot of companies firing employees left and right, even Fortune 500 companies, but there are places that are hiring. But there is one company that you simply assume is doing well. That company would be Netflix.

Let me tell you a little bit about Netflix in case you are unaware of what they offer. Netflix is an online video store. You can rent movies that are shipped to your house within usually two business days. The envelope they arrive in is also the envelope that you ship the DVD back in with postage already paid. So the turn around, depending on your DVD watching habits, is quite nice. They also offer unlimited online streaming of TV shows and movies. These are broadcast in HD if you have the proper equipment and the list of streaming films is growing every day. But with the recent change from DVD to Blu-ray discs, Netflix began to realize just how expensive offering these movie was going to turn. And with nearly every film that is coming out these days, to compete with places like Blockbuster, Netflix simply has to offer these discs. So to combat the rising cost in the products they were carrying they raised their monthly fees by $1 per month per account that was set up to receive these Blu-ray discs.

Netflix offers numerous packages ranging from a maximum of two rentals a month to as many as eight DVD’s out at a time with no limit on rentals. Prices range from just under five dollars a month to just over fifty. (Yeah, fifty dollars a month is a little insane if you ask me. Unless you watch movies all day every day it would never be worth it to me.) I subscribe to the three DVD’s at a time package, which I would assume is the most commonly chosen plan. That plan started, many moons ago when I first became a Netflix user, at $18.99. The price has dropped since then coming all the way down to $14.99 a month. However, this does not include that extra buck they tack on, but the quality difference in these films is worth way more than a dollar.

But today Netflix admitted to their rising cost and drop in sales due to this recession by raising their Blu-ray DVD rates from $1 to $2 per user per month. That might not seem like a lot but I can tell you this right now, they are going to be making a HUGE difference in their monthly income. Just think of the number of people you know who subscribe to Netflix. And with the overwhelming push to the HD side of viewing, both on cable and in the movie industry, folks are being forced to make the switch.

But what irks me is that they do this with out a warning. And they do this to folks that I feel should be grand fathered in. I mean, I have been paying my bill on time every month for several years and I have been paying the extra dollar since they began that change as well. And do not get me wrong here, a dollar is not that much money, it is actually not about the money at all, it is about the way that Netflix has handled this switch. Maybe some of you out there can not afford that extra buck. And if you are one of those people, then my suggestion to you is to cancel your Netflix subscription as you have bigger issues on your hands.

I get an email today stating that my bill will be changing effective immediately and I will be charged that extra dollar. Do you think there is a better way to let us all down like that? What about a vote? Do we not live in a democracy? Why could they not take, say, three months and every time you log in you are asked, “Would you be willing to pay an extra $2 to have access to Blu-ray DVD movies on the available selections in your current DVD queue?” This would at least give the user some input. Even if they end up charging the extra two bucks at the end of it you would feel better “making a difference.” But to all you Blu-ray watching Netflix subscribing HD junkies out there, I salute you, as for your viewing pleasure is about to cost you more Benjamins.