Last month Netflix increased its monthly charges by up to 60% and angered customers, thus causing an unprecedented outpouring of criticism , even rage . Many customers canceled their subscriptions , or at least said they were going to . Some wrote in to say that they would be switching to other vendors such as Red Box which offer movies for $ 1 / night .Others vented their ire in online protests to Netflix
I must admit that I too am miffed by Netflix’ actions ,though for different reasons . That an increase was due , I do not dispute . Considering the quick turnaround , Netflix customers are able to get a movie every four or five days depending on where they live . In my case ( two movies at a time ) , I was able to view between 12 and 14 movies a month . That means most of the erstwhile $15.99 monthly fee went towards mailing charges. When I consider that the price included unlimited streaming , I have to admit that it was a bargain . So , yes , some increase in prices was understandable .. but did it have to be that much ?
What turned me off even more was the condescending manner in which the price increase was disclosed to users . The announcement made it seem as if Netflix was doing us a favor in doing so when it was obvious that a) they were charging what they thought the market would bear and b) they were ( are ) going to phase out the DVD’s by mail part of the service and switch over completely to online streaming . Netflix ‘s online streaming has vastly expanded it’s slate of movies and TV shows but I , at least, am not ready to give up DVD’s by mail . The latter afford me more choices and enable me to watch them on a large size TV screen . I’ve not yet figured out the best way to get the online movie stream from computer to TV. Besides , DVD’s offer a pleasure that on-line streaming doesn’t ( it’s much like the difference between reading online news and reading a newspaper). Eventually , the mail in service will be a thing of the past , just as newspapers are in the process of becoming … but , not yet , please.
What also bothers me is the way in which Netflix has reduced the input from its users. About a year ago , Netflix abruptly cut out all the favorite movie- lists compiled by its users. More recently , it depersonalised member reviews by removing the icons that accompanied the reviews . Now it’s impossible to figure out who wrote a particular review or whether he has written any others I might be interested in. Previously , Netflix viewers were part of a large , far-flung family ; now there is no connection between them . I used to write a review when I found a movie particularly good , or egregiously bad , but now there is no incentive to do so since all reviews are , so to say , ” anonymous “. I will continue to rate the movies I see but as for writing a review , forget it.
According to the news , the anger of Netflix users has not subsided , a month after the price increase. Some may have actually cancelled their subscriptions but not in sufficent numbers to may Netflix take notice. For myself , I will continue to be a member because the service is unparalleled . Right now , Netflix has no serious rivals but monopolies are never permanent . Eventually , some other company will emerge and I hope it is sooner rather than later.