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Netflix Stock Rises After Suprisingly Good 4th Quarter

Is Netflix making a comeback?  Netflix, Inc. saw its stock go up in value yesterday after the company was able to secure more U.S. based subscribers than expected in their fourth quarter.

Netflix has suffered in recent months after they announced an aggressive price increase which split its DVD mail-service from its streaming video service.  The price increase outraged many of their existing customers causing 600,000 subscribers to cancel their plans and its stock to plummet.

It looks like the company is slowly climbing its way out of the hole.  It is reported that the company added 610,000 new subscribers in the United States, increasing revenue by 47 percent to $876 million. Netflix’s plan is to offer more content for customers to stream to their TV lift cabinets.

Analysts doubt that Netflix will be able to return completely to their glory days as there is now too much competition in the market with Amazon and Hulu Plus gaining momentum.  Netflix casually dismissed their competition but it should be interesting to see which way viewers will sway.  Ultimately the winning company will be the one that has the best streaming content to offer customers.    With this in mind, Netflix is spending their money wisely to acquire more relevant movies and TV programs to their streaming business.

Dish Network Revenue Numbers Up, Subscriber Numbers Down

In the wake of Netflix’s steady demise, competitors are reaping the rewards. Dish Network is among the group of Netflix competitors who took advantage of the opportunity to profit off of Netflix’s missteps.

While Dish Network has not struck back in terms of numbers of subscribers, their revenue has jumped substantially. Since this time last year, Dish Network’s revenue has grown by 12.3%, or $3.6 billion. This increase is largely contributed to Dish’s acquisition of Blockbuster earlier this year. Blockbuster was long struggling in the wake of internet movie giants like Netflix. Dish Network’s acquisition allowed Blockbuster to transition to the future of movie renting and streaming. Blockbuster Movie Pass allows subscribers to stream movies and TV shows to their TV lift cabinet as well as receive DVD by-mail service. The program is only available to Dish Network subscribers. Dish had hoped that Blockbuster Movie Pass would increase revenue and also draw in new subscribers who were looking for an alternative to Netflix.

Although the revenue numbers are promising, subscriber numbers are down. Dish Network lost approximately 111,000 subscribers over the past year. Based on their recent Financial Report, Dish is placing a lot of weight behind their Blockbuster venture. The report is very optimistic about the subscriber potential in the Movie Pass program and company executives have their sights set on continuing to build momentum.

Attention Netflix Customers!

Are you a Netflix subscriber? Whether you plan on staying on board or cancelling in light of their price increase, today’s the day to make your move. As of tomorrow, September 1st, Netflix’s monthly subscription rates are going up.

As it stands, subscribers can rent DVDs and have access to unlimited streaming on their TV lift cabinet for $9.99/month. After the price increase, the DVD rental and unlimited streaming will be split into two separate plans, each priced at $7.99/month. If you currently subscribe to their $9.99 plan, come tomorrow your monthly rate will increase to $15.98/month for both services. The price increase is Netflix’s way to shift the focus to unlimited streaming and away from DVD rentals by mail.

Current subscribers to the $9.99 monthly plan have several options. First, if you find yourself watching more DVDs than you are streaming content or vice versa, simply switch to either a DVD only plan or a streaming only plan. This way you save money and you can stick with the format that is most convenient for you. If you would rather keep your unlimited streaming and DVD rentals, you have no choice but to accept the price increase. Simply take no action and Netflix will automatically adjust your subscription to the new rates. Lastly, however unfortunate for Netflix, a popular option is to cancel with Netflix and explore alternative services. Whichever option you choose, the change goes in to effect tomorrow so be sure to act fast!

Changes Happening at Amazon and Hulu

With all the outrage over Netflix’s price hikes, many former Netflix customers have been defecting to alternate streaming services. Two services that seem to be high on consumer lists of alternatives are Amazon and Hulu.

In the wake of the Netflix uproar, new developments have emerged regarding Amazon and Hulu. Amazon’s Prime streaming video service recently struck a deal with CBS to begin streaming 2,000 TV show episodes. This means Amazon will now offer full seasons of 18 TV series.  The agreement includes episodes of “The Tudors,” “Numb3rs,” and “Cheers”. All content can be streamed to a computer or directly to your TV lift cabinet.

Hulu is another heavy hitter in the world of streaming TV shows and movies. The company has hired investment bankers to oversee a potential sale of their service. Yahoo has come forward as a would-be buyer, if Hulu can agree to their terms. The terms are 5 years of exclusive access to Hulu’s content. If Hulu were to agree to the offer, the service would be sold for a reported $2 billion. Hulu sources have a different take and have offered 5 years of access with much less exclusivity. Meaning other sites, such as the network website for the individual TV shows, could stream the same content.

Time will tell what happens with both services as the Netflix price increases do not go into effect until September. However, with the amount of angry consumers promising to jump ship, both Amazon and Hulu have the potential to reap the benefits.

Watch Out for Sneaky Cable Deals!

I recently bought a condo and am now looking for reasonable cable options.  Since I am living by myself, I do not have the luxury of splitting the cable bill and am looking for the most affordable option.

Through my research, I have discovered that all the big name cable providers are offering deals on cable packages.  On first glance, you may think the deals are good.  However, take a look at the fine print.  These deals are not good at all!  This is what I discovered.

AT&T which provides DirectTV, had a deal offering basic cable for as low as $29.99 for 12 months.  However, if you read the fine print you discover you must sign into a two year contract.  This means that after the first year, your cable bill nearly doubles to rates as high as $54-$60, and this is just for basic cable.  Imagine how much your bill would increase for add-ons!  Comcast and Verizon are also guilty of doing this same sneaky sale tactic.  Which leaves many consumers such as myself without an affordable cable option.

I did find out courtesy of an article, that cable providers are required by the FCC to offer a limited basic cable option.  I did try to inquire about this from Comcast and was informed that in my area it is still $20.99 per month and only gets you channels 1-22.  Is it me, or does that seem high?  I am at the point, where I would like them to bring back the analog rabbit antennas.  At least then I could get for free the standard 3 to 4 channels.

This led my search in a new direction.  I discovered that Netflix is offering a one month free trial and then it is only $7.99 per month after the trial period is over.  With Netflix I can get thousands of movies and TV shows without the commercials.  However, I will lose the capability to watch shows when first aired.  That is the trade off. I will also need to purchase a Wii, Play Station or one of their other compatible components in order to get NetFlix to work on my TV within my Carousel White TV lift cabinet.   I have decided I would rather pay a one-time fee with very low monthly payments than pay high monthly payments over the years.  If you do the math, Netflix will save you hundreds.

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