The rising price of DVDs

Netflix’s price increases may reveal plans to get rid of DVDs altogether

Has Netflix declared war on physical media? The movie rental behemoth announced last week that instead of giving its U.S. customers both DVD rentals and unlimited online streaming for $10 a month, it will be offering streaming and DVDs for $7.99 each—a 60 per cent price increase for customers who want to keep both services.

This price hike could help wean customers off DVDs and get them to embrace a streaming-only service, which is already the only option the company provides in Canada. Dan Primack of Fortune explained that Netflix last year “spent between $500 million and $600 million on DVD postage,” and the company’s future business strategy mostly depends on avoiding the mail.

So the people who still want to rent physical media will have to pay a lot of extra money for it, or else switch to the new digital era. There’s just one problem, though: even in America, where Netflix streams considerably more content than it does in Canada, most movies and TV shows are not available outside of the DVD format. Unless studios start licensing more of their content to Netflix, we could be looking at a future where customers have to choose between a big snail-mail selection and a tiny online one.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.