Netflix is restructuring its rates and ditching its single plan giving customers both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail.
The likely result is that most customers will end up paying more.
Customers who want both unlimited streaming and DVDs by mail will have to subscribe to two separate plans — and pay at least $5.99 per month more than they have been, the company's VP marketing, Jessie Becker, wrote in a blog post on the Netflix site Tuesday.
Until now, customers could buy a $9.99 per month plan that gave them one DVD at a time and unlimited streaming. With the change, the same products will cost $15.98 per month — $7.99 for the DVDs and another $7.99 for the streaming service.
Plans that offer two DVDs at a time — and no streaming — will cost $11.99 per month.
People who only want the streaming service will continue to pay the $7.99 per month they've been paying — a price established last November.
Though it seems a clear attempt to wean subscribers off DVDS, Becker positioned the change as proof of the company's commitment to its long-standing discs-by-mail system. "Reflecting our confidence that DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us, we are … establishing a separate and distinct management team solely focused on our DVDs by mail," Becker wrote.
It also, of course, provides a bigger revenue stream for the company, since the streaming catalogue is limited, and most customers will likely opt for the two-plan system.
And it's a big shift from what Becker wrote in November. Back then, Becker noted that the company decided against offering a DVD-only plan:
"You might … also wonder why we haven't introduced a new plan that includes only DVDs by mail. The fact is that 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.
"Continuing the best user experience that we can around watching instantly is how we're spending the vast majority of our time and resources. Because of this, we are not creating any plans that are focused solely on DVDs by mail."
They are now.