Netflix to Raise Prices for Blu-ray Rentals

We’re not sure whether the folks at Netflix got wind of the Oliver Wyman study cited elsewhere in this edition of HD Notebook, but no sooner had the study been announced this week than Netflix, America’s largest DVD mail-out rental firm, said it was raising prices on its Blu-ray customers.

Citing higher retail and wholesale prices, Netflix said it will implement a “modest” monthly premium for access to Blu-ray titles sometime soon. About a year ago, Netflix actually lowered its regular monthly rates for all its current and new subs (i.e., renting two discs at any given time dropped $1 to $14 monthly).

Although an increasing number of films and TV shows can now be downloaded for PC viewing for free by its subs, Netflix has plans to eventually stream Blu-ray content (if and when such enormous spectrum demands are met by broadband providers, among others). It didn’t say how many “Blu-ray subscribers” it now services.

During its quarterly earnings conference call on April 21, Netflix said: “Purchasing Blu-ray DVDs costs more both at retail and wholesale than standard definition DVDs, and consumers are used to paying more for high-definition content in every other channel, including video rental stores, video-on-demand, and cable channels. Because of the higher cost of Blu-ray and the consumer expectations around high-def content, we are planning on implementing a modest monthly premium for access to Blu-ray some time this year.”

Earlier this year, Netflix exec Steve Swasey told HD Notebook in a Q&A that the firm serves more than 7 million subs and offers more than 90,000 titles for mail-out (the vast majority of which are standard DVD).