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Netflix hikes price, turns focus to originals

February 4, 2019

Netflix has raised prices again as it continues to pour money into new content.

“We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience,” said a Netflix spokesperson after the price hike was announced.

I assume that Netflix has its viewers’ “experience” atop their list of priorities, not diminishing its massive mountain of debt.

Netflix continues to purchase new content with the billions it borrows yearly. Investing in high-profile Netflix originals such as “Bird Box” and “Stranger Things” adds up. One episode of “Stranger Things” could cost as much as $8 million. Netflix has also already committed to spend over $18.6 billion on future content that subscribers won’t see for months. The company continues to expand its original content in hopes of growing its subscription base, which is currently 58 million in the United States and 130 million worldwide. Of its current and future subscribers, only those that live in the United States will be affected by this price rise.

New subscribers began paying the new prices Jan. 15.  For those who already have a Netflix account, the increase will go into effect in the coming months. Subscribers should expect an increase between $1 or $2 depending on your plan. If you are paying for the non-HD plan, prices will increase from $7.99 to $8.99. Those that pay for the more popular plan, two HD streams, will see an increase from $10.99 to $12.99. The premium plan, which allows four simultaneous streams in 4k, will increase from $13.99 to $15.99.

“I don’t care about the price; as long as it’s reasonable, $2 won’t hurt the bank,” Netflix subscriber Adrian Gonzalez said. “But I’m curious to see if my money will be put to good use, hopefully toward a better selection of content.”

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

“I’m content with Netflix as of now,” Gonzalez said when asked if he’s looked into other streaming options. “It’s easily accessible for my family and I, and I don’t need anyone getting mad because I cut Netflix due to a $2 increase.”

If you’re a freeloader, like myself, who has managed to stream off of family and friends’ accounts, you might want to begin looking for new streaming options.

When fellow Netflix freeloader, Vanessa Carolina, was asked what she’d do if the primary subscriber canceled their subscription she said she would probably cancel her cable and begin paying for a Netflix subscription herself.

“I tend to watch Netflix more anyways,” she said.

Many people were initially drawn to Netflix for its affordability, but rising prices make it similar to its competitors, such as Amazon, Hulu and HBO.

Amazon Prime member Kenneth Reed said he prefers Amazon over Netflix.

“It’s a package deal,” Reed told the DePaulia. “I pay $119 a year and get two-day shipping, access to movies, music and Kindle books. It just makes more sense.”

It’s clear that people are trying to get more for less and Amazon is just another company competing for the same subscribers.

Netflix will continue to gain competitors in the coming years as AT&T, Disney and NBCUniversal all plan on offering their own streaming services. Netflix recently paid about $100 million to AT&T for the rights to stream the show “Friends” through 2019, which is $70 million more than what Netflix paid in past years. AT&T will team up with HBO for their new streaming service, and it begs the question just how much “Friends” will cost them. Disney will control Hulu in the coming months after acquiring Rupert Murdoch’s Fox businesses. In addition, the company has begun to pull its content from Netflix as they prepare to launch Disney+. An NBCUniversal spokesperson said that the company will continue to license their content, despite their new service, which means that shows such as “The Office” should still be available on Netflix– which is all that matters at the end of the day.

It doesn’t seem like Netflix subscribers are ready to jump ship, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming years as the streaming environment grows more crowded.

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