Flush with success following the smooth rollout of its password-sharing crackdown, Netflix execs made a somewhat bold promise back in July, one that played—at least to me—as a sweetener to Netflix’s “paid sharing” pill.
The promise (as reported at the time by Variety), was both simple and compelling: that Netflix had “largely paused” price hikes after imposing account-sharing fees earlier this year, and that additional Netflix price increases in “big revenue countries” were “more than a year out.”
Sounded good, right? Heck, I even saw Netflix’s pledge (which came from company CFO Spence Newmann) characterized as a “silver lining” in a headline.
Who was the dummy who wrote that? Oh right—it was me.
Because here we are, just three months later, hit with yet another Netflix price hike. And it’s a stiff one.
In the US, Netflix is boosting the price of its premium 4K streaming plan to $22.99 a month, up from $19.99/month and a 15-percent increase. Meanwhile, Netflix’s basic plan (which is no longer open to new or returning subscribers) will go up to $11.99 a month, up from $9.99/month and a 20-percent increase. Netflix prices are going up in France and the UK, too.
The good news (I won’t say “silver lining”) about Netflix’s price hikes is that they won’t impact “with ads” or standard subscribers, who will continued to pay $6.99 and $15.49 a month, respectively.
But the fact remains that Netflix now charges more for 4K streaming than any of its biggest competitors. Of the other big streamers, Max’s $19.99/month 4K streaming plan is currently the next priciest, while Disney+ recently upped its ad-free 4K streaming plan to $13.99 a month.
At the same time, Netflix is slowly turning up the heat on its remaining basic subscribers, clearly hoping they’ll jump ship for either the cheaper ad-supported tier or the modestly pricier standard plan.
In a statement to shareholders (who are probably quite happy given Netflix’s rosy Q3 financials), Netflix reiterated that it had “mostly paused price increases” after its password-sharing crackdown, although it dropped the whole “more than a year out” thing.
Of course, I’m sure plenty of us will stick with Netflix despite the broken promises and price hikes—after all, where else are we going to stream Suits? (Pssst: Peacock!)
That said, if you want to send Netflix a message, there’s an easy—and effective—way to do it.