Netflix today started offering a bare-bones DVD plan as it increased the prices of its DVD-and-streaming plans.
The company's new $7.99-per-month plan, offered at a new page on the Netflix site, allows users to have one DVD out a time on an unlimited basis. According to a Netflix salesperson who spoke to CNET today, those who want to include Blu-ray discs in the new plan will need to pay $9.99 per month. Internet streaming of video content is not included. If customers want two DVDs out at a time, they will need to pay $11.99 per month.
NewTeeVee was the first to report Netflix's new plan.
Netflix also announced today that those who want both DVD rentals and unlimited streaming will need to start paying more. Instead of paying the current $9.99-per-month fee for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVD rentals, customers will need to pay $15.98 a month for a single DVD out a time, paying almost 60 percent more for the same service. The company said the fee includes $7.99 for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for its new bare-bones plan. Those who want two DVDs out a time will need to pay $19.98 per month.
Earlier today, Engadget reported that a "tipster" claimed that Netflix was nearing a dramatic shake-up in plan structure that would push its streaming-and-DVD pricing up to $15.98.
Although the tipster told Engadget that the new plans would go into effect tomorrow night, Netflix reported on its blog today that new members will be subject to the pricing immediately. The additional charges will start for existing members on September 1.
In a blog post announcing the changes, Netflix said that based on its belief that DVD rentals will still be popular over the long term, and that there is a "very large continuing demand for DVDs," the company needed to make the change.
"Given the long life we think DVDs by mail will have, treating DVDs as a $2 add-on to our unlimited streaming plan neither makes great financial sense nor satisfies people who just want DVDs," Netflix wrote on its blog. "Creating an unlimited-DVDs-by-mail plan (no streaming) at our lowest price ever, $7.99, does make sense and will ensure a long life for our DVDs-by-mail offering."
Netflix went on to say that it believes $7.99 is a "terrific value" for both its streaming and unlimited-DVD options.
Over the last several months, Netflix has been seriously considering changing its current plans.
In April, for instance, Netflix used its investor site to answer questions related to its current plans, acknowledging that it was thinking of ways to encourage multiple people in a home to have their own accounts, rather than a single household sharing an account that everyone uses.
"Our $7.99-per-month plan is for one stream at a time, and later this year, we expect to be able to offer consumers some account options to watch multiple simultaneous streams," Netflix said on the Top Investor Questions page. "Or it could be that there is a price point that would encourage multiple accounts in one household. In either case, our long-term goal is to evolve the Netflix service so that it feels more natural to have a personal account."
Last week, Netflix announced a major expansion of its streaming services to Latin America and the Caribbean. The company said its streaming service will enable folks in 43 more countries to watch "a wide array of American, local, and global TV shows."
Updated at 10:17 a.m. PT and at 10:23 a.m. PT to include new details.