Posts Tagged ‘dvds

Netflix increases rates

Posted in Businesson Jul 12, 2011

Occasionally, I’ve subscribed to Netflix for a couple of months at a time.  I’ll subscribe, catch up on a number of movies and shows which I haven’t gotten around to watching yet, and then suspend my account.  One of the attractive things about Netflix is that streaming access was included, so I could watch a show online (through my Wii) while waiting for the next DVD to arrive in the mail.

Today, however, Netflix announced that they are no longer including streaming free with their DVDs-by-mail plans.  Instead, you can pay $8/month for streaming, with no discounts for subscribing to a DVD-by-mail plan.

This effectively separates Netflix into two operations: one for streaming movies, and another for DVD rentals.  By running two completely separate operations, Netflix now competes more directly with competitors in both operations.  Netflix streaming now competes with Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and others.  Netflix DVD rentals now compete with Video Rental Stores, Blockbuster By Mail, DVD renting Kiosks, and buying cheap DVDs at Walmart.

Perhaps Netflix’s “un-bundle” effort is driven by people who hate my telephone company, Qwest, who thinks that bundling is the best thing ever.

Blockbuster does something similar to Netflix, where they will rent you DVD movies through the mail. I recently tried their 14 day trial period, and these are my suggestions to make the most of your trial:

  • Sign up for the biggest plan you can get, because after all, this is a free trial. The risk in this though is if you don’t cancel in time, you get charged for the big plan. If you end up liking the service and wanting to continue, you can always switch to a smaller, less expensive plan. (Make sure you switch before your free trial ends)
  • Don’t sign up for your trial late at night. Sign up really early in the morning. The idea is to try and get them to ship you your first set of DVD on the same day that you sign up for the trial. I signed up at 8:30am, and they didn’t ship until the next day. Maybe they never ship on the day you sign up, but if you signed up really early in the morning, you would have the best chances.
  • Check the calendar, and make sure there are no holidays. If there is a holiday in the middle of your trial, you might not be able to fit a whole extra shipment into your trial.
  • Return your DVDs the day after you get them. This might cause a lot of movie watching when you get your whole shipment, but it is a way to maximize the number of free rentals. You could also get creative of other ways to use your rentals without actually spending the immediate time to watch them. 🙂
  • Returning DVDs directly to the post office as soon as possible will help make sure that they get in the earliest shipment back. If you put them in your regular mailbox, your mail delivery person gets to drive around with them all day.
  • Signup for your trial early Wednesday or Thursday mornings. I think this allows you the best weekend watching.
  • Cancel your subscription on the 14th day. If you signed up on a Wednesday, make sure you cancel it by Tuesday. When they say 14 trial days, they mean calendar days and not full (24 hour) days. If you signed up Tuesday night, you don’t have until Tuesday night two weeks later to cancel, because they will charge your card Tuesday morning, because it was the 15th day of your trial.
  • If you returned DVDs the business a day or two before the end of your trail, wait until the evening before canceling, to give them every opportunity to send you more DVDs just before you cancel.
  • Manage your queue just right so that your favorite DVD are the last ones to arrive during your trial. This is because they allow you quite a bit of time to return the DVD that they’ve already sent you. For me, they gave me over a month to return the movies they sent me right before I canceled. If you favorite movies are the last to arrive during your trial, then you can watch them over and over.

And remember, if your Blockbuster free trial wasn’t enough for you, you can get a Netflix free trial as well. Or do some Google searching, and you may be able to find even more services like this providing free trials.