Media

Netflix combats Hulu Plus with $7.99 streaming-only plan, raises DVD plan pricing

Netflix on the Nintendo WiiNetflix today officially unveiled a $7.99 subscription plan that only gives you access to its streaming movies and TV episodes.

The pricing is exactly the same as Hulu Plus, the company’s premium offering, which lets users watch recent TV episodes and archived content on their TVs and portable devices.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hinted that he was looking into such a plan back in September, and it was rumored for months before. The move makes sense for Netflix since its streaming offering has proven wildly successful. Customers watch more streaming content than DVD content, the company said, and a recent report by the bandwidth vendor Sandvine revealed that Netflix streaming accounts for 20 percent of total U.S. internet bandwidth during prime time hours.

Netflix is also raising the prices of its other plans. Its popular 1 and 2 DVD unlimited plans are increasing by $1 every month to $9.99 and $14.99 respectively. The company’s more expensive plans are getting more significant price bumps, with the high-end 8 DVD unlimited plan going from $47.99 a month to $55.99. Netflix is still offering a $4.99 limited plan with two discs per month, which only lets you view 2 hours of streaming content a month — but at this point I can’t imagine why anyone would stick with that plan.

The company said it has no plans to offer DVD-only plans in the future. Instead, it’s betting that streaming adoption will continue to increase. Netflix spent $115 million in its most recent quarter, and $66 million in the previous quarter, on streaming content. The company now has somewhere between 19 million and 19.7 million customers, according to its most recent earnings report.