Nearly 60% of Netflix customers plan to close their accounts [poll results]

Netflix mailers

Well, so much for the 23 million subscribers Netflix worked so hard to get. Based on Betanews poll results, currently with more than 1,600 responses -- 59.52 percent of Netflix users will "cancel account".

We asked: "Netflix has separated DVD and streaming plans -- raising prices 60 percent for many customers. How will you respond?" The company announced the pricing increases yesterday. Under the old arrangement, subscribers could rent one DVD at a time and get unlimited streaming for $8.99. Under the new scheme, 1-disc rentals and unlimited streaming are $7.99 a piece. To get both, the new price is $15.98, or a $6.99 increase.

As bad as the account cancellations might seem, matters are worse. Only 14.39 percent of respondents will go with a plan including DVD rentals. If the poll is to be believed, Netflix will effectively kill off its core DVD business, unless customers change their minds or the company revises its plans. Of course, that could be better and not worse if Netflix's goal is to kill off the DVD business in favor of streaming (not an unfathomable scenario). About 26 percent of respondents choose "go streaming only". The poll, which is embedded below, is still open -- so results may change.

Many Betanews readers aren't exactly excited about the pricing changes, but not all.

"Seriously? This many people are considering cancelling over this price change?" Kevin Doyle asks. "It's still cheap and has the best streaming selection". Yor Daddi responds: "Glad you have a money tree in your back yard. Most people don't. Streaming also isn't an option for a good 30 percent of the country, thanks to the telecoms who keep pocketing the tax dollars earmarked for 'rural broadband'".

My dad lives in one of those areas. He cannot get cable or Internet service to his rural home in Northern Maine.

In comments to yesterday's story about the price increases, Matt Shulman would continue with Netflix. Today he writes: "I've changed my decision. I'm going to cancel. While we have 3 movies out at a time, we do not watch them frequently enough to make it pay for itself. Now that I've looked more at the math, we are probably better doing on-demand with FIOS or Amazon. Either would work and being a Prime member I can stream from Amazon as well, which I hadn't really thought about until reading this".

Amazon charges $79 a year for Prime, which benefits include shipping discounts and some free movie and TV show streaming.

"I think I will take a trip to the local library and see what they have in DVDs," Lorenzo Swider comments.

Jack Sprat points out something many people seem to have missed: "So for those that only stream or only get the DVD option, it's a price decrease right? Sounds like a good deal to me". Well, streaming is the same as before -- $7.99. The 1-disc at a time DVD plan goes down by $2. People on the 6-8 DVD plans pay less than before.

"Subscription was canceled last night and an email was dispatched to cs_mail@netflix.com", PC Tool comments. "I simply stated how they successfully thwarted my plans to increase my subscription with them and that they would no longer be among my choices for legitimate content consumption".

Not everyone is unhappy with the plan changes. Netflix shares closed up 2.46 percent, or $7.46, to $298.73 today. Shareholders are pleased, looks like. We'll see if their mood changes should there really be a massive customer exodus. What people say in the heat of the moment isn't what they'll often do.

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