Netflix is preparing to raise prices for subscribers again this November, as the streaming service continues to expand its userbase and its content output.
Netflix has won fans around the globe with its affordable, flexible access to TV shows and movies, with its membership surge 21 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of this year. That growth, though, doesn’t come cheap, as the online giant has to spend funds on marketing in each new territory, as well as commissioning original content that will appeal to local audiences.
With 23 original shows, 13 comedy specials, six documentaries and nine original films on the slate for 2017, that balancing act between booming growth and careful budgeting is only getting tougher. And so Netflix has turned to its primary source of income: monthly subscription fees. Indeed, it has increased prices several times over the years, often freezing the rates for existing subscribers to ease the blow.
Now, it’s set to hike prices again, reports The Sun. Netflix will inform subscribers of the impending increase on 19th October, with subscriptions then going up in November. Netflix is split into three tiers. The basic plan, £5.99 per month for one screen in standard definition, will remain the same. The most popular plan, which allows for two screens at the same time in HD, will jump from £7.49 to £7.99. And the most expensive plan, which caters for four screens at once with up to 4K, will go from £8.99 to £9.99.
The hike arrives just as Netflix prepares to launch Stranger Things 2, one of the year’s most anticipated TV events. With over 100 million subscribers and counting, an extra few pennies are month are unlikely to deter users. It may even please some, with Netflix’s improved budget balance potentially leading to fewer cancellations – this year saw the controversial cancellation of Sense8 after its second season, as Netflix deemed the show did not have a big enough audience to warrant its epic production cost. Since then, thogh, Sense8 has been renewed for a two-hour special to give the show, and its fans, closure.
“We strive to be bold in our programming choices and financially disciplined, so we can keep being bold,” said Hastings, in a letter to shareholders earlier this year. “Every show has passionate fans and committed talent striving for excellence. Sometimes those shows don’t attract as many viewers as we had hoped, compared to our other content. As much as we dislike ending a series early, it consoles us that it frees up investment for another new show, or two.