Between Gaffes Netflix Hints Streaming-Only Option Headed to U.S.
Netflix may launch a streaming-only plan in the United States, CEO Reed Hastings announced in a blog post Thursday.
Netflix currently offers this option in Canada for $7.99 per month, which is a dollar cheaper than the current U.S. plan with unlimited streaming (the lowest Netflix plan is $4.99 per month, but limits users to 2 hours of streaming and 2 total DVD rentals per month).
Hastings also used the blog post to apologize for an "awkward joke" that he made Thursday during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Hastings apparently called Americans self-absorbed when the reporter for The Hollywood Reporter asked if he expected there to be a backlash in the United States because Netflix was cheaper in Canada.
Hastings said that [a potential backlash] was something Netflix would monitor, but insinuated he wasn't worried by saying, "How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world?" and, "Americans are somewhat self-absorbed."
Add this slip of the tongue to the Netflix Canadian launch snafu, in which the company hired actors in order to make its launch look a little more exciting, and, well, perhaps Netflix needed a big(ish) announcement.
A Netflix streaming-only option would be fantastic--I, for one, certainly use the streaming option more than I use the physical DVD rental option (I think my Sopranos: Season 5, Disc 2 has been sitting on my desk for a month and a half now), and yeah, I could use that extra $12 a year. Also, there likely won't be much competition from streaming-only services such as Hulu Plus--which costs $9.99 per month and continues to have ads in the pay service.