Netflix Fee Hike Hits Blu Renters

Do you rent Blu-ray from Netflix? Ka-ching. The company is raising monthly-plan fees for Blu-ray subscribers.

The existing Blu-ray surcharge of $1 remains for the one-disc-at-a-time plan. For two discs, it's going up to $3; for three discs, $4; and for eight discs, $9. If you rent DVD, you're not affected--the fee hikes are strictly for Blu-ray renters.

See Netflix notice to subscribers at Gizmodo.

Netflix may be feeling overconfident because its subscriber base in general, and Blu-ray business in particular, are both on the uptick. But this news can't make customers happy. Will they take it? Or will they look for an alternative--perhaps from some outfit that maintains brick-and-mortar stores in their neighborhoods?

Your move, Blockbuster.

This is not the only recent affront to Blu-ray renters. Fox has started stripping the Digital Copy feature from the rented versions of Blu-ray titles in an effort to switch consumers from renting to buying.

Why are studios and retailers so fundamentally unserious about building the Blu-ray rental market? Have they set their sights on downloads and streaming, despite the poor state of broadband in the U.S.? Or do they just assume they have a captive audience that will take infinite amounts of abuse, rather than drift away to other forms of entertainment?