Netflix is offering a new DVD subscription plan for consumers that aren’t interested in the Netflix Instant streaming service. Priced identically to the streaming-only plan, users can pay $7.99 a month for unlimited DVD rentals under the new plan. Before this plan was active, Netflix subscribers had a choice of $4.99 a month for one DVD out at a time (up to two a month) or $9.99 a month for one DVD out at a time with access to Netflix Instant. Under the new plan, consumers only interested in DVD access are able to forgo the steaming package in exchange for unlimited rentals.
This appears to be a slight departure from the strategy to focus on developing more streaming content options for subscribers. Netflix is working to produce original, exclusive content such as the drama House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and is rumored to be in the running for Dave Chappelle’s unnamed Web series. On the last company earnings call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated that subscribers were consuming more streaming content than physical media for the first time in company history. Netflix is also the largest source of Internet traffic based on a study earlier this year.
Of course, Netflix has its share of streaming problems. As of last month, Netflix lost Sony Pictures as a streaming content provider due to a contractual volume cap issue with Starz. Movies like The Social Network and The Other Guys disappeared without notice to subscribers. While the original contract went through 2012, Netflix’s growing popularity rapidly increased the amount of times that Starz movies were streamed by subscribers. Once the volume of downloads reached a specific level, Starz yanked the content in hopes of negotiating a more lucrative deal. Analysts estimate the cost per year for Netflix could reach $200 million under a new contract. If an agreement isn’t reached, content from Sony Pictures won’t appear on Netflix until 2016 due a further contractual obligation.
For those interested in the unlimited one-at-a-time DVD rental plan from Netflix, the signup page is located at http://dvd.netflix.com.