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Netflix Brings Back DVD-Only Sign-Up Option

February 17, 2012

In a move sure to confuse a group of customers already war-weary from a raft of changes over the last few months, Netflix has announced that it will once again allow subscribers to sign up for a DVD-only plan.

But wait, I've been getting DVDs all along, you say. What's new here? For those who have had Netflix for years, the recent sign-up process only let you sign up for Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service. After you were set up with streaming, you could opt to add DVD deliveries and drop the streaming, but there was no direct way to just sign up for DVDs. Until now.

The new plan will include over 100,000 regular DVDs for $7.99 a month, as well as Blu-Ray titles for an extra $2, and comes with a one-month free trial for eligible customers.

This new announcement will probably only remind many of the brief, and unsuccessful experiment called Qwikster, during which Netflix tried to separate its DVD offerings from its more popular streaming video subscription plan, only to reverse that decision after customer complaints. Shortly after that debacle, Netflix revealed that it had lost about 800,000 subscribers.

According to a Jan. 25 letter to shareholders, Netflix DVD members declined to 11.2 million in the fourth quarter. As Netflix continues to bulk up its streaming options, however, the company expects that to continue, projecting a loss of about 1.5 million DVD customers this quarter.

Despite the subscription plan tumult, that January earnings report revealed that Netflix's total revenue was $875.6 million, up from $821.8 million the quarter before.

While a good number of customers are still hooked on the company's DVD offerings, meanwhile, Netflix is also experimenting with its own original series.

The much anticipated Lilyhammer, about the life of a gangster in exile in Norway, launched earlier this month to mostly positive reviews. Also in the works are original shows including House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, Hemlock Grove, a horror series from the director of Hostel, and Orange Is the New Black, about life in a women's prison from the creator of the hit show Weeds, according to Bloomberg.




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