Netflix shares tank amid backlash and defections

By the Associated Press | October 25, 2011 | 1:56 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Netflix are plunging after the company revealed a massive departure of subscribers angry about price increases and other changes at the popular movie rental service.

Netflix Inc. said late Monday that it ended September with 23.8 million U.S. subscribers. That's down about 800,000 from June. The company raised its prices by as much as 60 percent in July. It also bungled an attempt to spin off its DVD-by-mail service.

Netflix shares opened at $74.88 on Tuesday morning. That's down 37 percent from the stock's closing price of $118.84 on Monday before the earnings report.

The stock is down from more than $300 just 3 ½ months ago. The last time the stock was trading so low was in April 2010, but that was during its meteoric ascent.