Looks like all of us Netflix devotees are going to be shelling out a little more dough each month for our trusty subscription streaming service. According to Buzzfeed News, Netflix is raising its prices for all U.S. subscription plans, so you can expect to see between a $1 to $2 cost increase (or about 13 to 18 percent) on your monthly bill sometime soon, depending on your plan. The company announced this change in policy this morning.
Netflix's cheapest plan, which doesn't offer HD, will see a one-dollar increase, going up from $7.99 to $8.99 per month. Its other two plans will go up two dollars in cost per month each — with its most popular plan (that includes two HD streams) going from $10.99 to $12.99, and its premium plan (that includes four 4K streams) hiking up from $13.99 to $15.99. While this certainly isn't the first time Netflix has raised its subscription costs (the last time they hiked up their prices was in Oct. 2017), this does mark the steepest price increase in the company's 12-year history.
The price increase will affect all new customers starting immediately, and will be applied to existing subscribers over the upcoming three months. According to Buzzfeed News, existing customers will be notified of the the price hike via e-mail and the Netflix app 30 days prior to the cost being reflected in their monthly bill. All 58 billion U.S. customers will be affected by the change in price, as will those in Latin America, the Caribbean, and some other areas. But if you're a Netflixer in Mexico or Brazil, you're in luck: customers in these locales are excluded from the price hike.
So, why the inflated monthly costs? In a statement to USA Today, a Netflix spokesperson explained, "We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members." And this makes sense. Not only is Netflix constantly changing up their movie and television offerings, they're also churning out tons of completely original content. In fact, in 2018, Variety reported that about 85 percent of Netflix's new spending would go toward original productions, according to company's chief content officer — and the brand indeed released hundreds of originals last year alone.
Streaming exclusive and original content is becoming a more and more competitive game, with companies like Amazon, HBO Go, and Hulu all in the mix, producing popular original shows and movies alongside Netflix (although, I should note, Netflix's basic plan is still cheaper than both HBO GO and Hulu's monthly fees). And with both NBC and Disney having recently announced new streaming services on the way (which will subsequently pull their content off other streaming services), Netflix's price hike doesn't come as too much of a surprise.
This news may or may not affect you, depending on whether you're one of the many people who borrow Netflix passwords from kind/clueless loved ones — i.e. your parents, your ex's parents, or maybe your old roommate (although, be warned, password-moochers: with new technology, password sharing for streaming services could become a thing of the past). But if the company's past four price hikes have been any indication, they're not likely to lose much momentum when it comes to subscriber growth — in fact, their stock has reportedly already increased since the announcement. Netflix appears to be here to stay, whether they cost $2 more per month or not.