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Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Netflix faces backlash over price changes

Customers unhappy with Netflix’s pricing plan changes are turning to social media to let the company hear all about it.

Effective immediately for new subscribers and starting Sept. 1 for current ones, the company will split its streaming and DVD services, offering each for $7.99. The company had providing streaming and DVD rentals together for as low as $9.99, so the rate hike is almost 60 percent.

On Wednesday, #DearNetflix was a trending topic on Twitter, as frustrated subscribers spoke out against the changes, with several threatening to cancel service.

Others said that the selection of movies on Netflix’s streaming service alone is not worth its own plan.

Dear Netflix: Your price hike would be acceptable if I could stream all your content. You have very little worth streaming, mostly old junk.Wed Jul 13 11:41:12 via Twitterrific

On Facebook, the company’s post announcing the change has more than 20,000 comments — and few of them are positive. Most take issue with the fact that the company isn’t adding services to justify its rate hike.

“Nothing like doubling your price and adding no value,” commented Facebook user Tim Smith.

CNET reported that several people seem to have “liked” the Netflix page only to share their displeasure with the company.

Yet while it’s understandable that people are upset about the changes plans, they may want to stop themselves from that knee-jerk cancellation.

If you do the math, the company still offers a unique service for a fairly low price. While the streaming selection is full of holes, if you’re watching more than a handful of videos per month, it’s still cheaper than renting one-time movies from Amazon or Blockbuster. Hulu Plus could give Netflix a run for its money with its identically priced $7.99 per month plan, but it also has holes in its streaming catalog.

And if you’re only interested in DVDs, then Netflix rightly points out that this is the cheapest option it has ever had for DVD rentals. Redbox doesn’t have close to the selection that Netflix has, and has no online presence at all. If you’re a power Netflix user, it’s still likely the best and cheapest option for you.

Where Netflix really seems to have fallen down is the way it has handled telling customers about the change, and how abruptly it changed its pricing structure. Across the Web, longtime Netflix users are saying that they feel betrayed by the company.

“I found out about this on Facebook a full 18 hours before I got an e-mail about the upcoming changes to my account from Netflix,” wrote one commenter dcn8v on my colleague Cecilia Kang’s post about the change. “That, in my opinion, is completely unprofessional.”

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By  |  09:01 AM ET, 07/13/2011

Tags:  Online video, streaming

 
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