.

SmartMoney Blogs

Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

New Netflix Pricing: Fewer Movies, Slower Streaming

iStockphoto

Netflix’s new, higher prices kicked in for current subscribers yesterday — the same day that content partner Starz announced it would end its streaming partnership with the movie rental site and weeks after AT&T said it would slow data speeds for heavy users who do a lot of downloading and streaming.

Translation: for an extra fee of up to $72 per year under the new pricing system, subscribers may get less content, and contend with slower speeds should they decide to watch those movies on their smartphone.

Starz announced Thursday that it had ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix, and would stop streaming its content — which includes Disney and Sony movies — when the current contract ends at the end of February. Sure, there’s still plenty of time for negotiations to pick back up, but All Things D says that doesn’t seem likely. Netflix’s response seems pretty final, and notes that the site is “grateful for the early notice of their decision, which will give us time to license other content.” By Netflix’s estimates, just 8% of what subscribers stream comes from Starz.

Earlier this month, AT&T said that it will reduce the data speed of its heaviest users. It’s not specifically Netflix-targeted, but analysts say those users are typically those that stream movies and music on their phone. (T-Mobile and Verizon have similar throttling policies in place.) AT&T’s new policy goes into effect on October 1. AT&T estimates it will affect 5% of users.

Pay Dirt readers, have the recent changes affected your movie-rental plans? Or did you make a move on the price hikes alone?

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 17)

View all Comments »
    • I was totally disgusted with Netflix’s poor selection of streaming movies. Mostly older and lower budget runs. Not what I expected when I signed up. Not about to spend another $7 or $8 to get the movies I really want to watch. The same $8 a month I was paying Netflix now gets me 2 movies a week from Redbox and better movies to boot! Goodbye NOflix!

    • yes. they do throttle streaming speed. one trick is to send you to a slower router.

    • so much for coporate scum definition of “unlimited” data service.

    • my public library gets new dvds faster than netflix, and its absolutely free. LOL.

    • The streaming selection is horrible.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

.