Saturday, February 18, 2012

After vote of 'non-confidence,' Netflix restores DVD-only plan

In a conference call in late January discussing Netflix's Q4 2011 results, CEO Reed Hastings made his feelings quite clear: “We expect DVD subscribers to decline steadily for every quarter, forever." Of course, it's a lot easier to head that off if you still have a DVD-only subscription plan. Viola, Netflix does --- again.

The Web's top video-rental service announced the revival of the DVD-only plan in a short note on its blog.

"Starting today, our DVD and Blu-Ray loving audience can now easily sign up for a DVD only plan. Starting at just $7.99/month, you can enjoy around 100,000 titles on DVD. We are also offering a 1 month free trial for eligible customers."

None of that text includes the words "again" or "returning to." Netflix dumped the DVD-only subscription program last year when it began its ill-fated attempt to spin off the DVD side of the business into a separate company named Qwikster.

That decision was reversed after much negative feedback from those who wanted to have both DVDs and streaming, and didn't want to have to deal with two bills from two different companies.

Naturally, considering Hastings' view of DVD revenue, Qwikster would have eventually folded anyway, which would have been an interesting conundrum for any who had worked for the spin-off: how would you like to work for a company you knew was going to fail?

It was a move that Netflix was bound to make once Qwikster was dead. Still, Hastings comments are not a vote of confidence, and the company faces stiff competition from rivals such as Redbox and their $1.20 a night rentals.

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