January 24, 2014
Bloomberg says Netflix is testing various prices and streaming combinations beyond $7.99 per month for new members. This suggests the streaming video giant is prepping a system-wide price hike. The last time Netflix raised prices, customers went for the exits. Will they do so again? Probably not, for a number of reasons. In July 2011, Netflix announced plans to decouple its DVD by mail and streaming video plans, thereby implementing a price hike. By September, the company had lost 600,000 customers. Three years later, the landscape has changed considerably — not just for Netflix, but for the industry as a whole. Today, thanks to high speed Internet and the emergence of tablets in the mainstream, streaming video has largely replaced DVDs in the home. At the same time, Netflix has become a leading provider of original programming. “House of Cards,” and “Orange is the New Black” both had successful first seasons. The former became the first original online programming service to earn a major television award. This is thanks to the Best Actress in a Drama Television Series award given at the Golden Globes to Robin Wright. So what will the new price hikes look like, and when will they arrive? Bloomberg says Netflix has been testing different prices for standard resolution, high definition, and concurrent streaming options. They also recently introduced a $6.99 monthly plan that allows streaming to only one screen. Whatever changes do occur aren’t likely to hurt current customers in the near term. In Ireland, for example, a price hike is only for new customers. Determined not to have a repeat of 2011, current customers won’t see the new prices for 24 months. I’m fine with giving a little bit more each month, as long as Netflix continues to provide fresh content. I didn’t feel the same way three years ago, when I felt that much of its streaming content was stale and repetitive. What say you? Are you willing to pay more for Netflix? See also: Pocket Adds AirPlay Support, Allowing You To Stream Collected Videos To Apple TV, Regular Software Updates Have Helped Fuel Apple TV's Sales Growth, and Four Original Live Action Superhero Series From Marvel Are Coming To Netflix In 2015.