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For Netflix, there’s a way out of pricing mess

Netflix customers are making perhaps the most damning comparison a day after the rental service announced it was raising its prices: They’re saying Netflix is just like the cable guys.

Seething blog posts and comments are piling up across the Web in reaction to a price hike that means customers who want access to DVDs as well as streaming video must now pay $15.98, up from the $9.99 they used to pay for both.

Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings may feel a little shell-shocked by the testy reaction. Hastings and his staff have enjoyed nearly unprecedented customer loyalty and popularity as the Web’s most popular movie-rental service. Hastings is the guy who championed consumers against Hollywood and helped take a digital baseball bat to the much-loathed late fees from Blockbuster and traditional video-rental services. He is the guy who mailed movies to users’ front door when they used to have to drive to rent. Netflix is regularly at the top of consumer-satisfaction polls. Would we have a term like cord-cutting without Netflix?

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