$1 Netflix Price Hike For Blu-Ray Access

Netflix will be start charging you $1 more per month to offset the costs of Blu-Ray movies, starting November 5. You have to opt-in to the Blu-Ray access, and the $1 surcharge, by going to “your account” and “add Blu-Ray access.” If you don’t already have Blu-Ray access on your account, then your membership price stays the same. Sounds like they needed to invent a way to make more money and this fee, admittedly small, seemed the best way to go about it. Copy of the email they sent subscribers, inside.

Dear Dash,

As you may know, Blu-ray movies are more expensive than standard definition movies. As a result, we’re going to start charging $1 a month (plus applicable taxes), in addition to your monthly membership charge, for unlimited access to Blu-ray movies.

The additional charge for unlimited Blu-ray access will be automatically added to your next billing statement on or after November 5th, 2008 and will be referenced in your Membership Terms and Details. If you wish to continue getting Blu-ray movies for $1 a month more, you don’t need to do anything. If not, you can remove Blu-ray access anytime by visiting Your Account at the Netflix website.

If you have questions about this change or need any assistance, please call us anytime at 1-888-638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

Price change for access to Blu-ray movies [The Official Netflix Blog] (Thanks to Dash!) (Photo: corsec67)

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  1. regenerator says:

    Actually, in my Netflix account I have to specifically ADD Blu-Ray access. This involves visiting a specific page in the “My Account” section, reading a disclaimer about being charged extra, and then clicking a box that says I have a Blu-Ray player and agree to the additional charge. Doesn’t look like people will have to opt-out; they have to specifically opt-*in*.

    • nikkimarie says:

      @SarahC83: so you can rent Blu-Ray without telling Netflix that you have a Blu-Ray player?

      • regenerator says:

        @nikkimarie918: No, I’m saying the way this is written it sounds like Netflix will charge everyone an extra dollar per month unless you specifically opt out… which isn’t the case. You have to opt-in… that is, visit your account settings and agree to pay $1/month extra for Blu-Ray. Sorry for the confusion. I was saying that I will not get Blu-Ray because I have not clicked said box.

      • nikkimarie says:

        @nikkimarie918: never mind, I just re-read your comment.

    • Blitzgal says:

      @SarahC83: Yes, this post does mention that this only affects people who have already added Blu-Ray to their accounts: “If you don’t already have Blu-Ray access on your account, then your membership price stays the same.”

      • regenerator says:

        @Blitzgal: It was a little more dramatic when I first read it. Read through to later comments for some quotes from original version. Looks like it was amended pretty quickly. And now my original comment looks silly :-)

  2. nikkimarie says:

    I wonder when Blockbuster will use this in their advertising (Blockbuster in my area doesn’t charge extra for Blu-Ray… yet).

  3. illtron says:

    A dollar isn’t a big deal. It’s just a fact that these Blu-ray discs costs a hell of a lot more. I saw Predator on Blu-ray and DVD in Target not long ago. Blu-ray was $35 and DVD was $7.99.

    I’m sure Netflix gets a better deal than that, but $1 isn’t going to kill me.

    • blainer says:

      @illtron: Cooking up a story and throwing it in a meat grinder looks so much better in HD.

    • buckeye17 says:

      @illtron: Incorrect, as a rental license is needed. I guarantee you Netflix pays more than consumers for each copy.

    • TVGenius says:

      @illtron: Yeah, but that’s been out on DVD forever, whereas I’m sure Predator came out on Blu-Ray a lot more recently.

      I told them they can stick their dollar, since we rent at most one Blu-ray a month (better than 90% of our rentals are TV series). I may re-enable it down the line, but not too soon. Besides, we end up buying more Blu-rays than renting.

  4. FreemanB says:

    I’ve been signed up for Blu-Ray discs since they started offering them on NetFlix, so anyone that is currently doing so would have to opt out if they didn’t want to pay the price increase. I got an email about it a couple of days ago, explaining what, why, and when they were doing it, as well as how to disable receiving the discs if I didn’t want to pay the extra charge. Since this only brings my plan back up to the level I was already paying before the last price drop, I’m not going to bother changing anything.

  5. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    $1 isn’t a big deal but it still bugs me when I can go months between Blu-Ray discs. Most of my rentals are DVDs.

    • regenerator says:

      @Diet-Orange-Soda: Can’t you just change your settings when you know you’ll be getting a Blu-Ray disc or two? I.E., some months I know I’ll be watching more movies, so I’ll bump up my subscription to four-at-a-time instead of three. I also put my account on hold when I know I won’t have any time to watch movies for a while, or am going on vacation. Netflix is pretty flexible like that. Of course, you have to remember to switch your settings back…

  6. Yeah .. I deactivated my Blu-Ray access. When I start having trouble getting titles because of my selection is when I will turn it back on. I had a total of 1 Blue-Ray disk in my queue of 350+

  7. yagisencho says:

    Paying an extra $12 per year to help ensure I don’t bother spending $22+ per disc to buy Blu-ray titles sounds like a good deal to me.

    • WTFN says:

      @yagisencho: I agree. I have the 3 at a time account and an extra $1 per month would not kill me or anyone. Still makes it alot cheaper then renting locally.

  8. A dollar isn’t a big deal, but every Blu-ray I actually want to watch is listed as “Very long wait” in my queue.

    I don’t mind waiting a while to get a BRD from Netflix because, whatever BRDs are expensive and they probably don’t buy many.

    Charging an extra fee and having “very long wait” on all the Blu-rays I want to watch is annoying.

  9. DashTheHand says:

    IMO, the better solution would be to only charge an additional fee if you actually receive a set amount of Blu-Ray movies in a month period. If you have 1 Blu-Ray out of 15 movies per month, an additional dollar seems kind of unjustified, yet if you get 10 Blu-Ray out of 15, then its understandable.

    What I would like to know is when Blu-Ray retail prices will come down so that they aren’t ridiculous compared to DVD prices. And if/when that does happen, will Netflix remember the price hike or will they turn a blind eye and continue to charge that extra fee?

    One final thing I would like to know is how much Netflix is actually charged for each copy of a movie. I’m willing to bet that it certainly isn’t retail price as they would buy in extreme bulk, but is this fee a justifiable price based on that?

    • ludwigk says:

      @DashTheHand: Netflix’s out of pocket costs for titles is probably individually negotiated with each studio. It’s likely also a closely guarded trade secret, since it is a key component in determining their business costs and logistics.

    • Etoiles says:

      @DashTheHand: What I would like to know is when Blu-Ray retail prices will come down so that they aren’t ridiculous compared to DVD prices.

      Back in 1998 and 1999, DVD prices were totally ridiculous as compared to VHS costs, too. We just got a PS3 and an HDTV in the last few months but I’m going to be very slow to convert my 175+ DVD collection (you can justify almost anything when you’re in film school) over because the Blu-Ray prices will be high for some time yet.

      That said, where it used to cost me $29.99 for a decent DVD, I can now find them for $7 at Target so I expect that as more folks adopt the tech the same will happen here.

  10. parad0x360 says:

    Instead of raising the price to rent these movies maybe Netflix (and retailers) should go after Sony and strong arm them into lowering the costs. $30+ for a movie is incredibly expensive.

    I dont think Sony understands they are losing money because the price is too high. I stopped buying DVD’s when HD-DVD and Blu-Ray came out, but I also have stopped buying Blu-Rays until the price comes down.

    So all because of the price of movies on br i no longer buy anything. I currently own over 600 movies, I used to buy 1-2 movies a week. You want my money again? You know my demands.

    • @parad0x360: Sony isn’t in charge of Blu-ray. There are literally hundreds of companies involved, and each studio sets their pricing independently.

      I dont think Sony understands they are losing money because the price is too high.

      Sony understands business far better than you or I, and has no control over anything but their own studio and their own hardware.

      • Limewater says:

        @InfiniTrent: Actually, Sony IS in charge of Blu-ray. It’s their technology, and any other studio that wants to put out movies on Blu-ray has to pay a licensing fee to Sony.

        I don’t know how much that licensing fee is, or how much of the current retail price of blu-ray discs it makes up, but it’s at least part of the reason for the added expense.

        But, like DVD, prices will fall as they are able to sell larger volumes and production costs fall.

        • Grive says:

          @Limewater: I don’t believe fees or anything else have anything to do with the price of Blu-Ray.

          “Perceived Value” it’s where it’s at. Assuming both cost $10, and come with the same extra features and all (with the obvious exception of resolution), which would you buy? A DVD or a BRD?

          For people with Blu-ray players, the answer will most likely be BRD. So, that means the consumer is willing to pay more for BRD.

          It’s the same reason why CDs were always more expensive than cassettes.

          So, BRD price won’t fall until it becomes popular enough and has become common enough that it’s perceived value falls – which will be accompained by a perceived value fall on DVDs. It’s pretty much what happened with the DVD/VHS market structure.

        • @Limewater: Actually, Limewater, you’re completely wrong. Sony is a major patent holder, but they’re not the only one. Panasonic, Sony, Philips, and more own a chunk. This is not Beta. This is not MiniDisc. I don’t want to get rude, but “what you heard on the internet” isn’t a good reference. Sony is not “in charge” of the format, and any agreement that would allow them to limit selling prices would be illegal. Sorry.

  11. Murph1908 says:

    I am a Netflix subscriber that has no plans of going blu-ray.

    I am glad they are only charging the people who are requesting the more expensive disks.

    Another reason that shows Netflix gets it, and to love them.

    • Sarah of Get Cooking says:

      @Murph1908: Exactly. I’m not interested in Blu-ray anything at this point, and I’m glad Netflix is applying the fee where it is hurting them financially, and not just upping fees across the board (the way airlines seem to).

      It sucks to have to pay more, but if you use a service that costs more you should expect to have to pay a little more for it.

  12. spoco says:

    no problems with netflix.

    I understand that there is actual reasoning behind this

    it doesn’t affect everyone, just those using blu-ray.

    Its $12 a year

    No problem with this at all.

  13. Mary says:

    Okay, here’s the problem: as a business you realize that you can’t rent out these movies without a drastic cut into your bottom line.

    You have two solutions. First, you can raise prices for all customers, even those who don’t have a blu-ray player.

    Second, you can tell those with a blu-ray player that if they would like to have all those bonus features and special things that they can for only $1 more per month that they use it.

    Since I don’t have a Blu-Ray player, if they raised the prices for me just so other people could use that feature, I’d be upset. Once I DO get a Blu-Ray player, I likely won’t rent them from Netflix but instead only buy my own when there’s a movie I really like. And if I DO decide that I want to rent them, I think paying a little more for a better feature isn’t a bad thing.

    How many websites have levels of membership? This is the same as paying a little more for three discs at a time instead of two. You want better discs, you pay a little more.

    Why everybody is so upset about this, I’ll never know.

  14. Mary says:

    Also, I’m intrigued that the copy of this story that I read in my RSS feeder included the line “Sounds like they needed to invent a way to make more money and this fee, admittedly small, seemed the best way to go about it” and the copy of the story I get when I click through does not.

    If you had a change of heart about it, that’s good. Because it’s simply over-reacting to think that Netflix is using this as a ploy to make more money. If they just wanted to make more money they’d raise everybody’s prices by $1 a month. They’ve lowered the prices so many times recently I doubt it would cause much of a dent in their subscriber base.

    • @Meiran: Agreed. Blu-ray discs cost much more than DVDs. Duh. If they didn’t raise prices, they’d be “eating” that higher cost, which no company is going to do.

      I’m honestly surprised it was only $1. I was expecting a $5 per month increase.

    • Sarah of Get Cooking says:

      @Meiran: I noticed that too and I didn’t agree with the original copy. They are trying to recover the costs of more expensive disks.

      I always thought it was kind of surprising that there was no difference in cost for blu-ray disks. Even still, it’s a tiny cost difference now for what is still a great service. If you want extras like blu-ray, well you paid alot for the player, the discs are expensive, you should expect that renting them would cost a bit more too.

  15. grumpskeez says:

    I was sorta miffed about this as Netflix already had ‘Very Long wait’ listed as status for any semi-popular release even if you add it to your queue as soon as it’s listed in thier system (pre release). Now they are charging more for the Blu-ray service that they can’t seem to keep up with.

  16. I wouldn’t mind if I actually was able to get the Bluray that’s been at the top of my Que for the last 2 months “21” With all those extra dollars they better up the inventory.

  17. Shadowman615 says:

    I got the email yesterday too; I really don’t care, to be honest.

    But they probably would have been better off just charging the extra buck for the blu-ray option to begin with rather than tacking it on later.

    • Grive says:

      @Shadowman615: But they tried to offer the service for no additional fees.

      The problem was, it’s hurting their bottom line. This is bad for Netflix – they’re not a charity. So their options are either drop blu-ray, or do a price hike.

      I do believe making it an opt-in service is the best way to go – it gives the consumer the choice of whichever option they think is best.

  18. steveliv says:

    blockbuster doesn’t charge extra for blu-ray discs, also the dvd envelopes can be used to rent blu-ray discs instore as well.

  19. lizk says:

    A dollar isn’t a big deal, but it’s a pain when I almost never get Blu-ray discs. We rent mainly independent films, and they’re almost never on Blu-ray (save for the independents that go mainstream, like “Juno”). We’ll probably just disable Blu-ray on our account, it’s not worth it.

  20. coren says:

    Thanks for rewriting the article to be less sensationalist – Netflix isn’t trying to jerk anyone around here.

    I’m betting they started at the low price to gauge interest and now that they know, they’ll be using that extra dollar to improve availability of Blu Ray, not to pad their bottom line – something apparently the Netflix blog has difficulty understanding

  21. Lee Lemon says:

    I am very confused by this. I’ve been a netflix customer for over a year and I only just signed up for Blu-ray a few months ago (when I got a PS3). They told me when I signed up for Blu-ray there was a $2/month charge, and the email I got on Wednesday said they were lowering that charge to $1/month. So I guess everyone wasn’t paying the same rates? Odd.

  22. GMFish says:

    Sounds like they needed to invent a way to make more money

    Netflix did not need “to invent” a reason to make more money. The accusation is either utterly ignorant or was intentionally inflammatory. Either way, it does not reflect favorably on the usually fantastic Consumerist website.

    Blu-ray discs cost Netflix more money. It’s quite obvious that when costs rise, prices soon follow. The fact that Netflix only raised their prices a buck is pretty awesome in my book.

    • lizk says:

      @GMFish: Obviously that cost existed back when Netflix started offering Blu-ray, though. This is just a result of poor business planning, and though it’s not a big deal, I think subscribers have a right to be a little annoyed at being charged for something next month that was free this month.

      It’s not enough to make me want to run away from Netflix and go Blockbuster or anything, but quite frankly, if Netflix hadn’t been jerking subscribers around on other issues throughout the year, this probably wouldn’t have been a blip on the radar. I’ve seen too many “sorry, we take that back” statements from Netflix lately, and this is just another annoying thing to add to the pile.

  23. macdude22 says:

    Considering I can get a month and a half of netflix for the price of 1 blu-ray I think I’ll manage. Since the demise of HD-DVD Blu costs have skyrocketed. To be honest the amount of content I get for such a low cost from Netflix is staggeringly amazing.

  24. jpdanzig says:

    The concept of paying more for a format just because it offers higher resolution makes no sense to me. Until the studios stop charging these stupid prices for BR releases — and the manufacturers stop charging stupid prices for BR players — I see no reason to abandon DVDs. I’m also holding off on HDTV until prices come down further — or my old but more than adequate Panasonic tube blows up. Now if BR and HDTV actually offered superior content as well as resolution — that would be another issue…

    • gaberussell says:

      @jpdanzig:

      Paying more for a higher quality product makes a lot of sense to me. Blu-ray retail prices are pretty high, just like DVDs when they came out. That’s what makes this $1 fee a good deal.

      As for players, the Sony BDP-S300 is selling for $199, which is better than DVD players during their first few years.

      There’s no reason to “abandon” DVDs – all Blu-Ray players will play (and even upconvert) your collection and Netflix rentals.

      Sounds like your beef is with the TV prices, which are still pretty steep.

  25. SexierThanJesus says:

    Considering the cost of acquiring BRD’s, this isn’t that unreasonable of a price hike.

  26. SgtBeavis says:

    Netflix provides such good service and does it so cheaply that I didn’t even wink when they tacked on $1.

    Also, Netflix gave everyone a heads up about this months ago when they stated they were looking into it. They also made it Opt-In for those that don’t normally buy Blu-Ray. I already had my preferences set to get Blu-Ray disks.

    Frankly, I’m surprised it wasn’t more considering how much Blu-Ray disks cost.

    Maybe I’d be pissed if Netflix was a really crappy service like.. oh lets say Blockbuster. But the fact is that the vast vast majority of their customers (including me) are extremely happy with their service. IMO they EARN their money.

  27. FrankenPC says:

    The watch it now service is becoming so great, that this 1$ Blu-Ray charge didn’t cause me any consternation.
    For about 23$ you get unlimited 4 at a time rentals and unlimited watch it now shows. AND you get your choice of Blu-Ray. Good deal!

    Now if only they would stock enough of the damn disks. Waiting for popular items gets annoying.

  28. BenedictGeryon says:

    Last year, Netflix *lowered* their prices by $1.

  29. kmw2 says:

    That really does just sound like a way to offset increased costs – they’re only applying it to people that actually want Blu-Ray disks, which are considerably more expensive than plain old DVDs, sometimes by several times. It’s the same reason the house wine in a restaurant is $3 a glass and you pay more for a fancy vintage. I don’t see any sneakiness here.

  30. hankrearden says:

    Hmm…$12/year to save zillions on Sony trying to screw me on Blu-Ray.

    No problem. I mean, a buck a month? Easily spend that on TP.

  31. fallstreet says:

    “It’s reasonable and fair to understand that for what costs us more money, we should charge more,” said Casey, according to VideoBusiness.com.

    so in Caseyworld,
    Price = Desired Profit + Expenses

    I know a certain someone who is being overpaid.

  32. synergy says:

    Interesting. I’ve not received that email although I’m a Netflix member. Not that I care because it’s opt-in and I have no plans to watch Blu-ray discs.

  33. trioxinaddict says:

    For all of you complaining about the “Very Long Wait” next to the blu-ray titles: this surcharge is going to allow them to purchase and/or make a lot more blu-ray disks of the things you want to see, so it’ll hopefully even itself out.

    I think this is more then fair, seeing as how blu-ray is still such an expensive format. Netflix has been one of my favorite companies since they gave me some awesome customer service a while ago (refunded 3 months of charges on a DVD sent to an old address, and it was honestly my fault) and I have never found a reason to complain about them.

  34. lifefood says:

    I personally do not mind paying an extra dollar for a way way better quality movie. Come on guys, you get what you pay for. Let them make some kind of money… I just think it was a bad idea for them to hike it now instead of from the beginning. Because a price increase is always seen as a negative thing from a consumer point of view.

  35. it’s a non issue. they are more pricey then dvd’s so it stands to reason that renting them would be more expensive too. sad, but not unreasonable. they also raised their fees only for those using the service. now as long as I don’t get stuck waiting an exhoribitant amount odf time for a BRD vs a dvd of the same movie then fine. For right now, I have PS3 but if I care about it that much to see the BRD version, I probably am going to buy it. So for now, I’ll just take standard dvd’s.