July 13, 2011, 12:41 PM — As a long-time Netflix subscriber, I'm no more eager to pay extra for the DVD-mailing and streaming video service than is anyone else.
But, my god! From the hysterical reaction of many Netflix customers, you'd think the company's monthly rate increase and price restructuring announced Tuesday was the moral equivalent of phone-bill cramming or gas prices topping $4 gallon while Exxon-Mobil pulls down record profits.
(Also see: Netflix new pricing structure no surprise)
While many headlines trumpeted Netflix's 60% price increase, on a dollar basis we're talking about subscribers who have been paying $9.95 total for unlimited streaming and a single DVD at a time per month now paying $15.98 per month for that package.
That's $6.03 a month more, or 20 cents a day. Such legitimate fodder for outrage!
Here are some samples from the nearly 33,000 comments left on Netflix's Facebook page:
"Reed Hastings, CEO, NETFLIX is a greedy f***!"
"Unfortunately I had to 'Like' you to tell you how much this price change SUCKS! Why would you raise your price despite your inability to maintain (or acquire) popular premium cable channel content? I feel like I am being forced to pay more for less."
"I've always been a loyal netflix customer but this is just too much. We will be canceling and using some other service such as redbox to get dvd's."
"Greedy S.O.B's!! the way the economy is the price should go down to $4.99 a month."
"This is crap! you are losing soooo many customers! hope you guys are happy."
There are thousands of others just like those. These people are worked up!
Of course, they overlook a few things:
1) Netflix still is a good deal, but people are infuriated that it's no longer a great deal.
2) Unlike Redbox, which many of the apoplectic threaten to start using, Netflix doesn't charge a late-return fee for DVDs. Redbox charges the rental amount for every night a DVD isn't returned to one of its kiosks.
3) Unlike cable and satellite television providers (not to mention wireless providers), Netflix doesn't charge an early-termination fee.
4) These are movies and television shows. We're not talking about necessities. There's not much at stake here except (mostly) mindless entertainment. DirecTV and Comcast charge a lot more to provide you the same thing.
Don't get me wrong. I have an inherent distrust of most public corporations because their prime directive is to serve the needs of shareholders. Plus they're inherently greedy and soulless.
But honestly, let's reserve our outrage for something truly outrageous. Like our money-corrupted political system.