Netflix, the streaming company that has invaded your home, served you algorithm-tailored images, spent billions on original movies and series, autoplayed trailers against your wishes, and inspired a viral challenge is now asking for something in return for all it's given the world. That something, of course, is more money: Netflix is bumping up the prices for all of its plans in the United States.
The price hikes will apply to all new subscribers immediately, and will raise the cost of Netflix's premium plan, which includes 4k streaming, from $14 to $16 per month. The most popular plan, which includes HD streaming, will move from $11 to $13 per month, while the basic, non-HD plan will inch up to $9 from $8 per month. Current subscribers will see the price increase hit sometime over the next three months, so make sure your credit card info is up to date!
It's no secret that Netflix has been spending money like it's got a direct line of credit at the U.S. Mint, racking up billions of dollars of debt in an effort to dominate your waking life with time spent watching everything from teen comedies to Oscar-buzzy dramas from big-name directors. With increased competition in the streaming space -- Amazon Prime has long been a stiff competitor, and everyone from Walmart to Apple to Disney is launching one of their own in the near future -- Netflix clearly believes it's time to start cashing in on its 58 million American subscribers again. The last price increase came less than two years ago, in late 2017.
While the individual price jumps might not seem like much, if you take the current subscriber base and assume a $2 per month increase, that works out to about $1.4 billion per year in increased cash flow, which will add to the roughly $4 billion per quarter Netflix claims in revenue quarterly. Even conservatively, you're looking at at least $700 million in increased cash, which will surely go toward funding new shows designed to keep you streaming until your eyeballs bleed or you peel yourself off the couch and get some fresh air.
It's a time-tested strategy for Netflix: Create an addictive product, get people to hand over automated credit card payments, and let the stock price soar. As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said following the last price hike, "Price is all relative to value." It's all relative, folks -- the billions spent, one or two dollars here and there, a weekend spent alone with your favorite streaming shows. Just give in and let the pleasure of streaming wash over you. It's worth the price.