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On Netflix

Along with uncounted others, I have been unpleasantly – to use a mild term – surprised by Netflix’s changes in the pricing structure announced a couple of weeks ago. Without offering me any additional services or perks, they decided unilaterally to jack up my monthly subscription 60%.

Noting the uncanny parallel with another 60% rise in costs that I had meekly swallowed in the past1, I have to admit that this is what I’m going to do in the end – meekly swallow it.

The reasons are simple. First of all, additional $6 a month are not worth getting too much worked up about, even as a matter of principle – if something breaks our family budget, it won’t be this. I like movies well enough and enjoy home-bound watching well enough to find the service valuable. With a single-movie-at-home plan, I probably get to watch between 4 and 6 movies a month via Netflix-mailed DVDs – and paying just $8 for that sounds like a pretty good deal no matter how you slice it.

Streaming – which will now cost additional eight bucks – is a slightly different matter. The available selection is not nearly worth the expense from my personal point of view. Since first subscribing to Netflix, I hardly watched a handful of titles from the streaming menu. I’m sure I could do without it, no problem. Except, my kids apparently like the availability of many seasons of TV shows – which are of no use to me – and watch something almost daily. It makes no sense to me to take that away from them.

I also cannot think of alternatives that offer everything that we collectively need at the minimum hassle and considerably more advantageous price overall. Streaming from elsewhere is subject to the same – or different – content limitations, with an extra cost attached to having more choices. Renting DVDs elsewhere either does not offer any savings in cost, or is less convenient, or both.

In the end, I grumbled a bit and I considered taking a principled stand against corporate arbitrariness, but all I’ll do is shell out those additional six bucks every month. “Sir, thank you, sir! May I have another, sir!?”

But don’t deceive yourself, Netflix. Another such stunt, and I’ll be leaving for sure!

Or not.


1 Eventually, decisions of my corporate overlords helped me get back at NJ Transit for hiking their fares that much on me. As we moved to another office in a different part of Manhattan, I switched to an alternative bus route served by another company, stopped being a NJ Transit customer – and reduced my commuting expense back to reasonable levels in the process.


  1. Dr. Phil

    We had Netflix for a while and used it enough to justify the expense. Until things changed and we had one DVD disk for a long time. Eventually I canceled — it actually was easy. But we get a lot of emails from them begging us to return.

    Dr. Phil

  2. konstantin

    There is a service we are considering as a replacement for Netflix. It offers new movies through streaming 1 buck a pop. I think its called zediva. We haven’t had a chance to try it out yet and don’t know how extensive is the library.

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