Netflix Price Changes Cause Facebook Fury

Posted on July 13, 2011 
Filed Under General

Since 23 million people are members of Netflix, the chances are pretty good that the company’s Tuesday announcement of new DVD/streaming plans is affecting you. For me, it’s a life changer. No way my spouse will accept DVD and streaming together for $15.98 per month instead of $9.99 like it is now. In fact, I’m hesitant to bring the subject up at home (but that’s for another type of blog).

This move by Netflix has ignited a firestorm on its Facebook page, which at present has nearly 39,000 comments on the announcement—many of them negative. The actual decision to raise prices not withstanding, is there anything Netflix could have done to avoid this little PR glitch? Mike McDougall, PR consultant and former VP of communications at Bausch + Lomb, says there were two problems: First, the news appeared to be launched on the Web before it was announced directly to customers. “Informing your current customers first should always be a priority, or at least done concurrently with news dissemination,” says McDougall. Second, there was little explanation, or rationale, for the changes. “If the rates are skyrocketing on a percentage basis, an explanation must carry water,” he says.

It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how many Netflix members cancel because of this. In the meantime, is there anything Netflix can do to stem the negative tide?

–Scott Van Camp


  • Roger

    Not surprised by the change. Seen it coming. I haevn’t decet, however, I am leaning toward streaming only. Will hurt the Postal Service as mailing dvd(s)will decrease.

  • Roger

    Not surprised by the change. Seen it coming. I haven’t decided, however, I am leaning toward streaming only. Will hurt the Postal Service as mailing dvd(s)will decrease.

  • Rachel

    I was on the fence as to whether the service was of value to me BEFORE the announcement. I haven’t been terribly impressed with the streaming choices and I’m not very good at turning DVDs in to get new ones on a regular basis, so I didn’t use the service much. This definitely sealed the deal for me. I cancelled my account effective today.

  • Mitzi

    As a longtime Netflix customer, I wondered why I never heard anything about the price increase until I read about it online! Even though this bites, I will still remain a Netflix user but will discontinue the DVD option to save the $.

  • Susan Fitzgerald

    I thought it was ridiculously cheap before and continue to think so. But then, when I was growing up, free content came from the library. Buck up people, you spend more than this on coffee in a week! This is a terrific value!

    On the PR side, yes they should have told members before it hit the headlines – my email came about a day or two later; but otherwise, anytime you are raising rates, you are going to get a PR storm, especially from people who feel entitled to free or cheap content.

  • Rebecca

    I just started Netflix a couple months ago. Have not been super excited about the streaming options. I only am allowed 1 DVD at a time on my plan, so maybe I will cancel streaming, and just upgrade my DVD option to 2 DVDs at a time. I am pretty good at mailing back in my DVDs. I view about 2 per week right now.

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