Netflix hikes premium plan to $22.99, more price changes (but is their catalog worth the cost?)

POLAND - 2023/07/26: In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
POLAND - 2023/07/26: In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

In news that comes as surprise to virtually no one, Netflix is hiking up their prices AGAIN. It hasn’t even been all that long since the last time the streamer raised the cost (March 2022) and already the service is confirmed to be doing it again.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Netflix would likely raise prices in several of its international markets, but will probably begin with the United States and Canada. Originally, it was believed Netflix would wait until the actor’s strike was resolved and maybe implement the price changes in early 2024, but they’ve rolled out the new pricing plans early and the SAG-AFTRA strike is ongoing.

Netflix raised prices in 2022 and then in 2023, the streamer cracked down on password-sharing and removed one of its basic subscription tiers, leaving customers with a choice between an ad-supported tier or more expensive premium services.

Netflix increases the price of its basic and premium plans in October 2023

According to Variety, Netflix has officially raised its prices again, as was previously predicted by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month. So far, the price changes have gone into affect in the US, in addition to France and the UK.

  • Basic plan has gone from $9.99 to $11.99/month (no longer available to new subscribers, is ad-free)
  • Premium plan has increased from $19.99 to $22.99/month (also ad-free in addition to streaming in Ultra HD and being able to watch on four devices simultaneously)

The other plans, the ad-supported standard tier and and regular standard tier, remain unaffected with their prices still $6.99/month and $15.49/month, respectively.

Of the price hike, Netflix says “our starting price is extremely competitive with other streamers and at $6.99 per month in the U.S., for example, it’s much less than the average price of a single movie ticket.” Note that the $6.99/month is only for the standard plan with ads.

In the UK, the basic plan is now £7.99/month, and premium will run £17.99/month. France’s prices are €5.99/month for basic and €19.99 for premium.

Is Netflix still worth the cost?

Every time news breaks that Netflix is considering raising its prices or implementing new crackdowns, people balk and claim they’re going to quit and cancel their subscriptions. Many do, but Netflix still remains one of the top streaming services around. How much longer will that last if the cost keeps going up?

The thing is, Netflix doesn’t make content at the same quality as it used to. And while there are some outliers, like Wednesday, One Piece, and even Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, it’s hard to tell if these hit shows actually equate to more subscribers.

An interesting perspective has arisen on Twitter in the past few days, spawned from an article from The Atlantic and the coinciding tweet.

The Atlantic’s social media account shared, “Streaming is a modern marvel that allows us to watch more shows and movies than any old Blockbuster could hope to stock,” alongside with a link to an article about how streaming has reached its “sad, predictable fate.”

But several users questioned the outlet’s initial tweet. Does Netflix really offer more variety than movie rental stores of the past?

It’s hard to say because there isn’t any primary source that I could find giving an exact number for how many tapes or DVDs Blockbuster sold at any given point in time. Various reports say the store was required to have 8,000 to 10,000 films in stock at any given moment, but that’s unverified.

Still, Blockbuster wasn’t the only DVD rental store in business. There used to be plenty of mom-and-pop stores along with smaller chains like Hollywood Video. Even if Netflix became the name of the game in later years, there was a time when consumers had a decent amount of options right around the corner from home.

But Netflix was the biggest competitor to those stores when it offered an extensive mail-in DVD service boasting a whopping 100,000 or more titles. Netflix shuttered that service and shipped its last DVD on September 29, 2023. In fact, Netflix’s current streaming catalog is significantly smaller than it used to be, reportedly shrinking to less than 4,000 movies.

While the streaming catalog has always been smaller than its DVD catalog, it’s kind of crazy to realize how much Netflix has gotten rid of by closing down its physical DVD service. Fatherly published a great write-up discussing the shrinking options on the streamer and pointing out that it might have even fewer options than we had in the 1990s and the age of Blockbuster.

Yet despite the streamer’s catalog getting smaller, they expect consumers to pay more. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer people tolerate increased subscription costs and whether Netflix finally takes a serious hit in its subscriber count in the coming years.

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