To Nix or Not to Nix Netflix

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sam Grobart, personal tech editor for the New York Times, talks about new pricing rates for Netflix streaming and DVD rentals, and takes listener calls on their strategies for media consumption.


Sam Grobart

Comments [32]


I wonder if it's the case that the film industry is charging Netflix more and more money in fees and licensing so those costs are inevitably passed on to the consumer. Netflix may not want to charge their customers more and alienate them but the industry may have forced their hand in negotiations.

Oct. 10 2011 12:22 PM
esquared from east village

public libraries have an excellent selection of books.

Sep. 08 2011 12:45 PM
Su from brooklyn, NY

What a lot of people don't know is that Netflix doesn't pay A PENNY of royalties to any of the filmmakers whose work they distribute. They make an initial purchase (not a lot of money, by any stretch of the imagination) and after that, into eternity, they take all the money and give none to the artists.
I know this because my work is on Netflix.
I don't think there's anything to be done about this (except to refuse having your work on it), and it doesn't have much to do with Brian's discussion about which purchasing plan to choose, but I think we all should at least be aware of how this stuff works. And since journalism on the internet is threatening the livelihood of journalists (who used to get paid by printed papers), we should also bear in mind that artists who are on the internet are also losing the ability to be paid as they once were.

Sep. 08 2011 12:12 PM
clark from NJ

I use my local library, inter-library loan in Passaic county and extension into Bergen county libraries for ALL my DVDs.
I haven't had regular TV since the switch over. I live in the mountains & nothing was getting to me. I don't have a computer either.
Sure, I have to wait for some serials but I have time to read a book too.
It's a wonderful resource and I've already paid via taxes. : >

Sep. 08 2011 12:01 PM
Geoff from Brooklyn

I don't own a TV. I project onto a wall, cable is a waste of money, Hulu and Netflix cover just about everything except the best cable channels , HBO etc, I wish they'd get on board and offer a subscription to online users ( not just free devise access for cable subscribers), as long as they ignore us, we'll continue to use Megavideo to stream their shows for free. I'd prefer to pay but I don't want cable or a TV.

Sep. 08 2011 11:58 AM
Kym Richardson from Manhattan

The New York Public Libraries have an excellent selection of DVDs -- from the classics to the lastest releases -- a welcome resource in these economic times...

Sep. 08 2011 11:57 AM
Adam from Sayreville

A while back, Netflix announced that they planned to move exclusively to streaming service by 2013 (I think).

By making DVD subscriptions more expensive, Netflix can potentially increase the number of streaming subscribers to such a point that they will be able to use it for leverage when bargaining with content distributors to add more new content to the streaming service.

Sep. 08 2011 11:57 AM
Allison from brooklyn

I joined Netflix so long ago, my old plan was grandfathered into their newer pricing. They forced me to upgrade within the last year by not allowing streaming videos with my previous old plan, which was 3 dvds at a time/mo + limited streaming/month. I think the problem is that Netflix *was* competing with Blockbuster/video rental, but now they are competing with their own model. Netflix is not worth $16 for their offerings. I use Hulu a lot more than I use Netflix these days. Maybe I can split the cost with someone else.

Sep. 08 2011 11:56 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

Where is the extra profit going? Not to the talent in those films and shows. Actors make penny's on the dollar for DVD rental, and almost nothing for streaming.

Also if you own a TiVo cable providers will not allow On Demand.

Sep. 08 2011 11:56 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

Brian, I'm installing a small notebook directly connected to my tv TOMORROW! My cousin has that done in his house, and it is great! you can watch anything you would watch on you computer on your tv

Sep. 08 2011 11:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Tell you guest to get a ROKU for $60 bucks! You can get Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and a host of others too numerous right on your TV via Roku!

Sep. 08 2011 11:54 AM
Chris from Queens

Boycotted Netflix last month due to their greed. I found more choices at my local library for the cost of a round trip bus ride every time. Other online places I go to are Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Sep. 08 2011 11:54 AM
John in Bergen

We dropped the DVD delivery portion. We save where we can. We will use red box, & local library, We may drop streaming at times and go back to DVD. We are on basic basic cable.

Sep. 08 2011 11:54 AM
Mo from Brooklyn

I really wish I could get all of the extra DVD features via streaming. I like the director's commentary, etc. How come that's not offered?

Sep. 08 2011 11:53 AM
Tim from NYC

Nevermind people, the Post Office is going under so the whole equation will change. Physical delivery is going to be REALLY expensive soon.

Sep. 08 2011 11:53 AM
The Truth from Becky

NOW the cable people are who we need to band together and boycott to get those prices back down to reasonable rates!!

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Henry from Manhattan

Oh, also I can pause Netflix at any time and not pay for the service, it’s just a few clicks online. Very versatile. You’re not locked in at all.

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Tim from NYC

Nevermind people, the Post Office is going under so the whole equation will change. Physical delivery is going to be REALLY expensive soon.

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Lee from Inwood

A major point being missed in this discussion is the rights for streamed video, which are different from physical DVDs for Netflix. After buying a disc, it can be rented as many times as customers demand; film rights for streaming are limited, only usable for a certain number of downloads, and are much more expensive for Netflix.

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Edw from NYC

Been a subscriber since 2006...the disc collection has gone way downhill since they squeezed out Blockbuster.
The selection is becoming as generic as was Blockbuster brick and motar locations.

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Brian from Brooklyn, NY

What's really annoying is that they don't let you combine their 1 dvd limited plan (to 2 dvds per month) with their streaming, which would be a more moderate $13 option.

Sep. 08 2011 11:52 AM
The Truth from Becky

Netflix member since 2001 - whoever is complaining has not walked into a movie theater lately or if they have they didn't buy snacks to go with their movie!

It's a deal people!

Sep. 08 2011 11:51 AM
JR from NYC

I'm getting out. I'm outraged that they're increasing prices by 60%, especially when they don't have the whole DVD selection on streaming.

Sep. 08 2011 11:50 AM
MAttyMac from Queens

Whether or not the netflix increase is justified is severely challenged by their loss of the Starz partnership.

We were on the fence, but with the loss of Starz – it has made cutting streaming an easier decision.

Sep. 08 2011 11:50 AM
Edward from NJ

If you really use both the streaming and the DVDs, $16 is still a good deal. I found that I wasn't using the DVDs very often -- one every couple of months. For $10 it was worth it, but not for $16. I did keep streaming since they have lots of programming that my kids enjoy and a fair amount for me.

Sep. 08 2011 11:50 AM
Judy from Manhattan

I cancelled the DVD's. I kept the streaming because my TV can connect via the internet.

Sep. 08 2011 11:49 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

IN previous post, I meant to say you need a VERY GOOD indoor or outdoor antenna, not a cheap one. I have an indoor antenna I paid $70 bucks for, and has done an excellent job in pulling in most broadcast stations. And I stream Netflix and vast amounts of other online content to my TV using the Roku device.

Sep. 08 2011 11:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Laura,

Can't you get a good antenna to get basic channels on your TV without cable? I live in Queens, not in Manhattan, but with a very indoor antenna (and the converter box), my 12 year old ancient 31 inch SD TV can still get all channels 2-12 (though the 11's are iffy depending on time an weather), as well as many UHF channels, such as 25, 31, 45, 50, and many more.

As for CPAN, I can get all their 3 channels on my computer. What is the problem here?

Sep. 08 2011 11:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

P.S. If you have a Roku or some other device to stream the movies to your TV set, it is even more fabulous. Netflix has always streamed well for me, even when I had the relatively slow DSL connection! Honestly, unless you are an avid sports fan, or have money to burn, I can't see why anyone still subscribes to cable.

I got rid of cable nearly 4 years ago. A total waste of money, even for basic.

Sep. 08 2011 11:18 AM
Henry from Manhattan

I get Netflix; the one disc at a time program.

I don’t have cable, I can’t justify the expense. Video entertainment isn’t a priority, but it’s nice to keep up on current films and popular television series that go to DVD.

I already updated my plan to drop the streaming option that hikes up the price. The streaming wasn’t all that great anyway, a nice bonus, but I wasn’t overwhelmed.

I like the one disc at a time way of watching movies; it’s a decent bottleneck where I can’t binge. I like the anticipation when that envelope comes in the mail.

If I’m not satisfied, there are those DVD kiosks in nearby stores, so there’s stuff to watch if I really want to it right away.

Sep. 08 2011 11:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Netflix is definitely STILL one of the greatest bargains out there even now, as $7.99 for streaming unlimited movie and old TV content, and even for the additional $7.99 if you want to still get more recent DVD movies in the mail. It is absurd to believe that Netflix could have kept the DVD option remaining it at only $2.00 extra. It costs them almost that in postage alone! I used to get six DVDs a month, an average turnaround of about 5 days for the extra $2 bucks. I knew it had to end for them remain in business.

But even with the new competition from HULU Plus, Epix, Crackle, Movie Vault, Amazon, and even pirate online movie providers, Netflix streaming at $7.99 is still a great deal, particularly when you take their rating and search capabilities into account. It has still the best system for finding the movies you may actually want to see around, IMO. And those who don't want to pay the extra $7.99 for the DVD rental part, try and see how much renting more recent DVD offerings cost elsewhere.

P.s. I am in no way associated with Netflix, other than being a subscriber.

Sep. 08 2011 11:13 AM
Laura from UWS

What can we do about the extremely high price that Time-Warner Cable charges? I thought paid cable would be free of commercial interruptions, but it's not.

Why can't we have municipal public cable service?

I need cable to get a picture and for my work I need to see many station including all 3 C-SPAN networks.

Netflix in moderation. Ditto public library.

Sep. 08 2011 10:58 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.