The Price of a Monopoly
Before coming to LinkedIn, I worked at Netflix, which has been one of my favorite companies for a very long time. I’ve had an account with them since the very beginning, and I for a long time I’ve loved their loyalty to their existing customer base. Until just a few years ago, any increase in price to their new member subscription price wasn’t passed along to existing members, who were allowed to keep their existing subscription prices until they chose to change to another plan. When they added streaming, they added it as a bonus to the DVD plan – I know the goal here was to increase streaming viewership, but it was still very nice. Until today’s change, every change they’ve made has looked at least a little bit like a benefit for the subscribers.
Today, they’re rolling out a new plan. Fortunately for me, at my particular level (4 unlimited DVDs plus unlimited streaming) the price is just about the same. But for those people who are on a tighter budget and happy with the $10 for 2 unlimited DVDs plus streaming, they now have to choose one or the other for $8, or move to $16 for a slightly worse plan (only 1 DVD at a time). Wow. I mean, I think it’s nice that you can choose to have one or the other, so those people with no internet can just watch DVDs and those people who hate the USPS can just watch streaming, but really? You can have one or the other for $8, or both for $16. No discount to have both? Really, Netflix? And precisely no benefit for having been a customer for years? I’m sorry, but 2 months notice is really not a reasonable amount of consideration.
I realize that Blockbuster is dead. And Amazon hasn’t really mastered the art of streaming subscriptions. And Apple is struggling with the same thing. So Netflix can do what they want and they’ll continue to print money like gangbusters. But you know, I liked giving our subscription money to a company that I felt valued their subscribers. Even though my cost hasn’t changed at all, I’m much more likely to look elsewhere for my entertainment choices. I know that may seem a little hypocritical as an Apple fan-girl, but continuing to give money to a company who makes it clear they’ve suddenly decided not to value their existing user base anymore feels a lot worse than continuing to buy items from a company that’s never pretended otherwise.
Oh jeez, I have no idea how to tag this. Um, Geek stuff. And, uh. Friends in G+.