Netflix price hikes raise US cost of most popular plan by a dollar


The last time Netflix raised prices was at the start of 2019. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Netflix is raising prices again in the US. As of Thursday, the standard plan, Netflix’s most popular one, began costing $1 more, or $14 a month. A premium package — which unlocks perks like 4K resolution, HDR image quality and the ability to stream on four devices at the same time, up from two — costs $2 more at $18 a month.

Netflix didn’t change its basic subscription, which streams at DVD-quality 480p and limits simultaneous streams to a single device. It remains $9 a month.

Current subscribers won’t see their bills go up immediately, but the respite won’t last long. People who already subscribe to Netflix with a standard or premium package will get email and app notifications 30 days ahead of their price increase, based on their billing cycle. Anyone who didn’t previously subscribe to Netflix and signs up now must pay the higher rates immediately.

The price bump, likely unwelcome by some subscribers, was widely anticipated by investors and analysts to come sometime in 2020 or possibly 2021. Netflix had already pushed prices higher in Canada earlier this month, a harbinger of US price increases. Netflix also tends to bump its prices higher roughly every two years. The last time Netflix raised prices in the US was at the start of 2019, when the monthly cost of both the standard and premium subscriptions rose by $2 and the basic plan went up $1.

“We understand people have more entertainment choices than ever, and we’re committed to delivering an even better experience for our members,” a spokesperson for Netflix said. “We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer more variety of TV shows and films — in addition to our great fall lineup. As always we offer a range of plans so that people can pick a price that works best for their budget.”

Netflix’s latest rate increases come after a raft of new streaming rivals have launched from media and tech giants in the last year, a period dubbed the streaming wars. The new competitors — including HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Disney Plus — vary widely in pricing, from free tiers to $15 a month.   

But the scale of Netflix’s back catalog and the company’s frequent release of new shows and movies dwarf its new competitors, spurring some analysts to characterize Netflix pricing as too cheap. 

Netflix has an eye-popping $17 billion content budget. And even with coronavirus disrupting film and TV productions around the world, Netflix expects its slate of programming released this year to proceed as planned. The company expects to release even more movies and shows in 2021 than it did in 2020. 

The pandemic also ignited Netflix subscriber growth earlier this year, as the virus started locking down swaths of the world and trapping people in their homes with fewer options to entertain themselves. That growth slowed significantly in the last few months, as Netflix predicted, under the assumption that people who were going to subscribe sometime later this year simply signed up earlier during lockdowns. 

Now, Netflix is betting that people will keep flocking to its service even if it costs a buck or two more. 

Now playing:
Watch this:

The best docuseries on Netflix for 2020 (so far)


Source Article