Netflix is reportedly planning to raise its subscription prices once the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strikes end. As per The Wall Street Journal, the streamer will issue a hike on its ad-free plans a few months before a global spread, starting with the US and Canada. The company hasn’t commented on the said increase, but going by the last instance, which was in January 2022, we can expect it to go up by $1 to $2 (about Rs. 83 to Rs. 166) for a monthly plan. Before that, Netflix also introduced its cheaper ad-supported plan, costing $6.99 (about Rs. 582), which is still unavailable in India.
While other international streaming platforms such as Max and Disney+ raised their prices to curb financial losses, Netflix instead chose to boost its subscription count by cracking down on password sharing among its customers. The method seems to have worked, considering the streamer reported a climb of 6 million new subscribers, as of July, taking the total to 238 million members. The WSJ report suggests that costs of major streaming platforms have shot up by 25 percent, as a means to make a profit and lead more price-conscious customers to their low-cost ad-supported plans. It’s not surprising for the company to try and match the price pools set by its competitors, with the leading one in the US being Disney+ at $13.99 (about Rs. 1,165). Raising the cost of ad-free tiers also makes the cheaper ad-supported plans look more appealing.
It’s unclear exactly when the new prices will be issued, but currently, the ad-free Standard tier costs $15.49 (about Rs. 1,289) per month in the US, while the Premium plan is set at $19.99 (about Rs. 1,664) monthly, allowing you to stream content at up to four screens at the same time.
Last week, the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) finally ended its 148-day strike against major Hollywood studios, in an effort to earn fair paychecks and to fight back against unregulated use of AI in screenwriting. Among those studios were the aforementioned Netflix and other major streaming services, all of which will now be forced to share streaming data with the WGA — specifically, the hours streamed — so writers and actors can assess how well a movie or show performed and collect residuals on them. It’s similar to TV broadcasts, but the advent of online streaming made it so workers weren’t making any additional money beyond the initial payment. Meanwhile, the SAG-AFTRA (actors’ union) is still on strike and trying to negotiate a fair deal with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers).
In April, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos claimed that the streamer was ‘better prepared than most’ studios in the event that a strike went through. Keeping disruptions to the minimum was its large slate of content, thanks to its penchant for planning out releases long before they’re ever revealed to the public. It makes sense for Netflix to wait until the strikes end so they can raise their prices, given there’s not much promise of new content besides the ones they’ve already shown throughout their TUDUM events.
However, as actors and writers return to work, not only can they justify the price hike, but they will finally be able to promote the films and hold interviews like they used to. For the uninitiated, actors under the SAG-AFTRA union aren’t allowed to promote their films or shows nor work on them during the strike period, which has caused several major projects like Dune: Part 2 and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse to get delayed.