What, you thought Netflix was going to stay out of this whole streaming price-hike trend? In this economy?

According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, the streaming leader is waiting out the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike before it increases the monthly rate for its ad-free users, which is most of us. Currently, Netflix’s most-popular (and least expensive) commercial-free plan (“Standard”) costs $15.49 per month. There’s also a higher-level tier (“Premium”) for $19.99/month.

While we do not yet know when the actors guild and the studios will agree on a new contract, the feeling and/or hope is it won’t be much longer now. After a nearly five-month writers strike finally came to terms with a tentative deal on September 24 (the WGA strike technically ended two days later), SAG-AFTRA met producers at the bargaining table on Monday. They are set to meet again on Wednesday.

The WGA strike began May 2; SAG-AFTRA joined writers on the picket lines July 14.

Netflix has been a very public target for both creative guilds. As the largest streamer, it tied back to key sticking points of staffing minimums for writers rooms (WGA) and streaming residuals (WGA and SAG-AFTRA). Streaming changed the game and new rules had to follow.

The WGA fought for — and got — some healthy increases from its asks. SAG-AFTRA wants the same. Soon, it sounds like Netflix will be passing the cost on to you and me.

Netflix is “discussing raising prices in several markets globally,” WSJ wrote, “but will likely begin with the U.S. and Canada.” The report did not have a dollar amount nor a date for said price hikes. Netflix declined comment on the reported price increase both to WSJ and to IndieWire.

For once, Netflix playing catch-up with the rest of the business. Rival Disney has recently been the most aggressive of the streamers when it comes to price increases. In July, not long after ad-free Disney+ increased from $7.99-per-month to $10.99/month, the company announced its core streaming service (without commercials) would rise to $13.99.

We’re nine days away from Disney’s new rate activating (and we’ll be paying it). Hulu, which is soon to be wholly owned by Disney, also raises its ad-free rate October 12.

Discovery+ announced a price increase Tuesday, its first since launching in January 2021. Beginning November 2, ad-free Discovery+ will cost $8.99 per month, up $2 from $6.99/month. Discovery+ with ads will remain $4.99 in the U.S.

Max, which includes most Discovery+ programming, suddenly looks like a sweet deal. Max costs $15.99/month, the same as its predecessor HBO (without Discovery+ programming) following a January price increase.

Other major players to jack up their rates in 2023 included Peacock, Paramount+ with Showtime, and Starz, among some more niche streamers; get all those details here.

Netflix, which added an ad-supported tier in November 2022, has not directly raised prices since January 2022. Already, Netflix is making more per subscriber on its the ad-supported tier.

Netflix also famously cracked down on password sharing this past spring, when it blocked access beyond a member-family’s household without additional payment. Adding a member to qualified plans cost $7.99/mo. each… or the former borrower could sign up for their own account. Ad-supported Netflix starts at $6.99 per month.

The profitable streamer has eliminated some less-profitable revenue streams. In July, it scrapped the “Basic” ($9.99/month, ad-free, but light on the features) tier. On September 29, it mailed out its final DVD.

Also on Tuesday, Netflix made some major changes to its executive ranks. Amy Reinhard (pictured above, middle), previously the company’s VP studio operations, will succeed the departing Jeremi Gorman as advertising president. The streamer also promoted Eunice Kim (above, right) to chief product officer and Elizabeth Stone (above, left) to chief technology officer on Tuesday.

Leave a comment