NBC NEWS — More than 23 million subscribers either rent DVDs or stream movies and TV shows from Netflix. But chances were high last week's notice of a price hike would not go over well.
Unhappy Netflix customers wasted little time venting online after the company announced last week that the price for its combined DVD and streaming service would go from $9.99 a month to $15.98 on September 1.
There's no way to know yet how many Netflix customers may jump ship, but competitors such as Amazon and Blockbuster are giving a warm welcome to those who do.
Dan Ackerman with Cnet.com, states, "Whether it's movies from iTunes, or whether it's those kiosk boxes you see at drugstores and supermarkets, I think there's a lot of opportunity now for people to come in at a lower cost and give you at least some of those services."
Netflix's price hike comes as the company's spending more to bolster the library of television shows and movies it’s allowed to stream. One analyst estimates the company's streaming costs could balloon from $180 million last year to $2 billion next year.
Ackerman says, "Just as people are downloading music instead of going to the store and buying CDs, people are going to be downloading and streaming more movies on a going forward basis rather than getting those discs."
Netflix is hoping that future keeps customers streaming to its services and not away from them.
Subscribers who don't want to leave, but also don't want to shoulder the price hike have an option. You can subscribe to just streaming service, or just the DVD service, for as little as $7.99 a month.