Netflix to hike up monthly Blu-ray fee by up to $8

Video rental site raises prices on renting Blu-ray Discs by up to $8 a month, for a total of $9 a month for its heavy users. The change is going into effect next month.

On Monday, Netflix announced that the privilege to rent Blu-ray titles would be going up in price, beginning April 26. Citing the significant increase in the number of titles releasing on Blu-ray and the high cost of the discs over traditional DVDs, that comes out to a raise of anywhere from $1 to an additional $8 over what users were previously paying, for a total of $9 a month extra for its heavy renters.

According to the Official Netflix blog, it amounts to about an extra dollar per tier of the plan you're on, as opposed to the previous system, which simply tacked on an extra dollar. That amounts to:

1 DVD out at-a-time (2 DVDs a month)
Monthly plan cost: $4.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $1
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $5.99

1 DVD out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $8.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $2
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $10.99

2 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $13.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $3
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $16.99

3 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $16.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $4
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $20.99

4 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $23.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $5
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $28.99

5 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $29.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $6
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $35.99

6 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $35.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $7
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $42.99

7 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $41.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $8
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $49.99

8 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $47.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $9
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $56.99


The move is sure to ruffle the feathers of longtime Netflix subscribers, who had already complained over the move to start charging an additional fee for Blu-ray rentals beginning last November. For its heavy users, those who are on the eight-DVDs-out-at-a-time plan, the $9 fee is equivalent to opening up a separate one-DVD-out-at-a-time plan.

The real question may be how much Netflix is actually having to pay for Blu-ray titles. Unfortunately, the company will not disclose what it pays for discs. A Netflix representative told me only that there was "not much, if any, discount" on most Blu-ray purchases."

That may be well and true, however, a large chunk of Netflix discs are printed exclusively for the company and differ from what's available at retail. Online retailer Amazon.com, which sells Blu-ray discs at a markedly lower price than what you'd find in brick-and-mortar stores, still has a $6 to $14 price differential, compared to each film's DVD counterpart.

The only problem with this math is that when you're Netflix, you can bargain down that price even lower because the films are being purchased directly from the publishers. That, and the company is buying up titles without packaging, something it's likely been doing exclusively since discontinuing its used DVD sales service last November.

So should users be footing the bill, in some cases up to $9 a month for what may be a nominal increase for Netflix's cost of operation? The only way Netflix may make it go down easier is by revealing exactly how much more it costs for it to purchase Blu-ray titles. On the plus side, with a bigger catalog of discs, this may cut down on some of the month-long waits some users (myself included) have suffered.

 

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