Would You Pay Netflix Another $9.99 a Month?

As you curb your enthusiasm, Netflix will test its pricing elasticity.       

Rick Munarriz
Rick Munarriz
Feb 2, 2009 at 12:00AM
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Now that breathtaking results have proved Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) to be recession-resistant -- if not outright resilient -- the company may have bigger fish to fry.

"Imagine Netflix gave you a way to instantly watch HBO series and movies streamed from the Internet to your computer of TV," poses a member survey, as retold by HackingNetflix.com. 

Members are then asked to consider paying $9.99 a month more, for streaming access to original HBO shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage, as well as access to recent home releases such as I Am Legend and 27 Dresses

The survey emphasizes that the optional add-on wouldn't disrupt the existing service. Netflix subscribers could still rent their favorite HBO shows as they're released on DVD, and the online streaming service that offers a limited selection of the available catalog is still included at no additional charge.

Is Netflix actively in negotiations with Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) HBO, or is this just a trial balloon, perhaps with a different studio?

Well, does it matter? The key takeaway is that Netflix is seriously considering the elasticity of what a consumer is willing to pay for a smorgasbord of filmed entertainment.

This would have favorable implications for rental companies such as Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) and streaming heavies such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN). It could also be problematic for companies such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), if customers begin kicking their cable providers to the curb and begin cherry-picking their televised content.

Won't this also ultimately threaten Netflix? Probably. It won't be long before studios cut out the middlemen and deal directly with the end users, especially for a studio-specific product like the one being proposed.

Near-term winners may be long-term losers. Long-term winners may be near-term losers. Plot twists are what make the good films great.

Stay tuned.

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