etflix has launched a new subscription plan that gives customers unlimited access to streaming on-demand video without any obligation to rent DVDs — a move that promises to shake up the movie-rental industry. While setting the cost of the streaming-only service at only $7.99 a month, the company nudged up fees for plans that include both streaming videos and DVDs sent to customers the traditional way: By mail. Is this a sign that DVDs will soon be dead? (Watch an interview with the Netflix CEO)
Yes, the days of DVDs are numbered: Netflix apparently has seen the future, and it doesn't involve DVDs, says Nick Bilton at The New York Times. Not only is the company offering an inexpensive streaming-only plan while hiking charges for DVDs, it's using the extra money from DVD subscribers to expand its library of streamable movies.
"Netflix introduces streaming-only pricing"
Customers have already begun abandoning DVDs: Netflix is only going where the customers already are, says Nicholas Jackson at The Atlantic. According to the company's official blog, Netflix members are "already watching more TV episodes and movies streamed instantly over the Internet than on DVDs, and we expect that trend to continue." As for those few "DVD holdouts"? Netflix "should put together a price structure that's based on individual usage."
"Netflix rolls out streaming-only option, price hikes"
Netflix is not trying to kill DVDs. It is saving itself: Netflix is just trying to avoid repeating the mistakes of Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and other industry dinosaurs, says Angela Moore at MarketWatch. Those companies "failed to keep up with consumer tastes and changes in the way people consume media." When Netflix added its streaming service a few years back, it was "a niche add-on for die-hard techies," but now it's where the money is. Netflix has to move beyond being just a DVD-rental company, or suffer a "slow death."
"Netflix's next act"
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