Netflix Users React in Outrage After Subscription Prices Raised

Reed Hastings - Portrait - V - 2009
Ryan Anson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

CEO Reed Hastings is dubbed "Greed Hastings" on online message boards; an analyst predicts Amazon, Hulu and Redbox could benefit.

NEW YORK - Some Netflix customers expressed outrage after the online video service boosted the price of its DVD and streaming video rental plans on Tuesday.

User comments on a Hollywood Reporter story about the price hike on Tuesday included such lines as "Hey Netflix, you're cancelled" and
Redbox, here I come!" A positive reaction said: "I remember going to the video store to rent one movie and it cost $3.50. For one movie. This month on Netflix I watched half a dozen movies and a bunch of TV episodes and it cost me $7.99. What are you whiners complaining about?"

As part of its new pricing structure, Netflix is ending a popular $9.99-a-month plan, which included unlimited streaming and a one-disc
rental. That was replaced by a $15.98 offer that combines a $7.99-a-month streaming-only plan and a $7.99-a-month DVD-only, one-disc rental plan.

Some frustrated customers lashed out at Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, dubbing him "Greed Hastings," on Internet message boards, according to the New York Post.

"You guys better up your instant streaming selection big time," customer Rush Falknor said on Netflix's Facebook page, according to the paper.

Others at Engadget threatened to switch to rival video services, such as Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus, and supplement streaming video with $1 DVDs from Coinstar's DVD rental kiosk Redbox.

Eric Wold, analyst at Merriman Capital, who had downgraded Netflix last week to "neutral," called the new prices a "pretty steep" hike. "I think people are seeing Redbox as a beneficiary," he said.