Just as Netflix launched a $7.99 unlimited DVD-by-mail plan, the company announced separation of streaming and disc rental plans, and a rate increase for combined services. If you need two DVDs out at-a-time, the cost is $11.99 per month. And, the streaming-only plan will remain at $7.99 per month. For a combination of both, the cost will be $15.98 per month. As far as Blu-ray Disc rental, Netflix didn’t mention in their announcment whether or not the $2 surcharge for BDs would continue — we just assume it will — putting the monthly rate for BD renters at $17.98 per month.
Under the guise of “giving members a choice,” the new rates from Netflix reflect film studio’s demand for more licensing fees. Netflix is, in reality, simply “renting” content from the studios. The studios have the ultimate control (as we saw with Sony recently yanking a bunch of titles from Netflix Instant Watch), so the party may be over for Netflix who will most likely see a huge spike in licensing costs.
Expect Amazon, Google (YouTube) and maybe Blockbuster to jump on the chance to even things up with Netflix who currently commands the streaming market.
For existing subscribers, the new pricing will be effective September 1. New members will be charged the fees mentioned above.