This isn’t something we normally talk about on here but the Netflix price change is big news. I’m not going to recap it for you here since there are summaries everywhere but the gist of it is that now instant watch and DVDs by mail are separate prices which, for some users, just about doubled the price of service. What I think is the most interesting thing about this is that, while just about everyone is complaining about it, we all seem to be complaining for different reasons.
Some background: We were members of Blockbuster By Mail for years. It used to be cheaper and meant more DVDs a month because you could trade in every DVD you got by mail for another DVD in the store. Then Netflix dropped their prices at the same time that Blockbuster limited trade-ins and it was suddenly cheaper for us to get Netflix by mail. Then they threw in instant watch and we were very happy: we were paying less than Blockbuster and getting instant watch for free.
Then they raised the price for users with BluRay. We were annoyed, especially since Blockbuster is the same price for BluRay and had since added the ability to rent games by mail for the same price. But we really loved instant watch so we decided to pretend that the extra dollars a month were for instant watch and suck it up.
Now they’ve raised the price again, even more so for people with BluRay so we’re dropping DVDs by mail.
Here’s the point where I seem to lose people. Many of my friends are complaining that there is “nothing” on instant watch so they are dropping that as it’s not worth it. I couldn’t feel more opposite about this.
I guess if you are the sort of person, like my retired father, who has buckets of free time on your hands to watch movies all the time then instant watch isn’t for you. He’s always complaining that he’s already seen everything on Instant Watch (of course, he also refuses to watch any movie that doesn’t have at least 3 actors he’s familiar with in it so there’s also that). That sort of person has seen just about every movie out there and just wants the newest releases. But, um, hi, I’m a small business owner. I work all the time. The last movie I saw in the theaters was I think Wanted which I only saw because my parents wanted to go. Let’s Google that… Ah, that was in 2008.
Beyond the fact that I’ve never seen most of the movies on instant watch, things like older TV shows, especially British shows which my husband and I both love, and MST3K movies are the staple of what we watch. We both work long hours. The DVDs we get from Netflix sit on our table for weeks until we find the time to commit 3 hours to the latest release. Meanwhile, while waiting for dinner to boil or for the repair guy to show up we’ve snuck in half a dozen half hour britcoms or other instant watch programs in that same time frame. A 20 minute episode of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller is always going to be easier for us to fit in around our lives then two and a half hours of whatever just came out in theatres.
We were frankly relieved to get rid of the DVD portion of our Netflix account as it always seemed like such a waste… we never watched the DVDs. Because BluRay DVDs were the bulk of what we were paying, our Netflix account when down in price with this change. Maybe we have quirky taste but I think the fact that we are rarely up with the most current movies because we never have time to watch them when they are brand new is a big part of it. Instant Watch for us is just a big ole list of movies we meant to watch and are now available… instantly whenever we are in the mood to watch them.
But there are always those moments when something just came out that we do want to watch. Now we’ll be doing RedBox for those movies but wouldn’t it make more sense if Netflix kept our business and let us rent a la carte through them? Just charge us a per DVD fee for when we want a single DVD at the moment instead of making us pay a monthly fee for unlimited. I’d even pay a little more than RedBox costs if I knew they’d mail it to me. They have a limited DVD plan now but it also limits your instant watch to two hours. I want unlimited instant watch, we use that more often after all, but I also what the option to get the occasional DVDs and only pay based on what I rent. Why isn’t there an option like this?
How about you? If you could create your own Netflix plan, what would it look like?