DVD by Mail

There was a brief period where Netflix worked so well that it was like magic. For a small fee you could consume as many movies as you wanted from a gigantic library, through DVDs sent back and forth in the mail between you and the service. Then the company launched their Watch Instantly service, and suddenly you could watch a portion of their library even more easily by streaming them right from the website. At first that was a free option, built right into your subscription, but eventually the pricing structures switched around so that you were paying a bit for both. Not a problem, Netflix was still a near magical service that allowed film enthusiasts, even those who lived in the country and not in cultural epicenters, greater access to more movies than they’ve ever had in their lives. Eventually use of Watch Instantly exploded, it was a hugely popular service that had lower overhead costs than shipping DVDs through mail, Netflix seemed to have two huge cash cows in their hands. But that’s where the problems started.

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Netflix announced a new pricing scheme today, and if you believe the spin they’re putting on it over at the official Netflix blog, their new packages are the cheapest they’ve ever offered! Except, for the first time ever, you will now need to have multiple packages to keep all of your services. So probably you’re going to be paying a lot more. Oh, bummer. What they’ve done is split their Instant Watch service and their DVD by mail service into two separate things. Both the Instant service and the one DVD at a time service will cost $7.99, which means you will now need to pay $15.98 a month if you want to continue watching movies both ways. And seeing how Instant Watch is a great feature, but nowhere near comprehensive when it comes to film library, you’re probably going to want to keep watching both ways. The other reason (in addition to a false sense of savings) Netflix gives for this move is their realization that there are enough customers out there who are only interested in physical media and don’t do streaming to keep their mail business alive longer than they anticipated. Last year, when they announced their first ever streaming-only plan and started treating DVD mailing as a $2 dollar add-on, it seemed like they were taking the first steps toward ending their mail service, which has much higher overhead than streaming for the company. Now it appears that they realize the original model of sending out […]

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