Monday, January 17, 2022

Netflix increases prices in US & Canada

Netflix is once again raising subscription prices in the US and Canada. It isn’t clear at the moment if the changes in pricing in these two countries will immediately affect pricing in other markets.

It seems this has become an annual tradition where subscription prices have slowly gone up year on year. The basic plan has risen in the US from $7.99 in 2014 to $9.99 with the new increase. Meanwhile the premium plan has moved from $11.99 to currently $19.99.

The latest increase will immediately affect people who sign up for Netflix in the two countries. However, rollout to existing customers will be done gradually – whatever that means or looks like remains to be seen.

When subscription platforms like Netflix first rose up, they were meant to replace the then rental services that existed. They’d allow you a whole library of content online and you’d pay a monthly fee.

Over time though, these platforms have shifted from being just libraries of movies and shows whose licenses they have, to being studios churning out their own content. Meaning they need to make more money than before to be able to cater for their big budget productions.

At the same time, there’s growing competition between the different platforms. Right now there’s not just Netflix. We have Disney+, Apple TV+, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Sling, Paramount and many others. They’re all are competing for customers with big budget tv shows and movies.

The last time Netflix increased prices in Kenya was in May of 2021. At the time, this was seen as a move to cushion themselves from the then introduced taxes in the market. They didn’t however touch the basic plan.

While we can expect Netflix to revise pricing locally in the coming months, they’re somewhat at a fix of sorts: Should they increase prices and make more money to make more shows and stuff? Or should they keep pricing friendly to entice more customers.

Also, remember locally they face competition from platforms like Showmax and the slowly rising media house competitors like Viusasa. Perhaps that’s their reason for having a free plan allowing you to watch some of their original content without paying a single shilling.


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Dickson Otieno
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