Netflix is increasing the price of its streaming plan by $1 for new members, but it will allow all existing subscribers to continue paying their lesser rate for another two years. The same is true in the UK and Europe, which are also seeing price bumps of £1 and €1. This is the first price increase that the streaming plan has seen in most regions since its introduction in 2011. Other regions may also be seeing a similar price change.
"We want to get this done well.""To continue adding more movies and TV shows and delivering a great streaming experience, we previously announced that we planned to increase our price slightly for new members," a Netflix spokesperson says in a statement. "That increase is happening today." In the US, the basic streaming plan will now cost $8.99 per month.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that the price hike was coming last month, at the time explaining that it would likely be a one to two dollar increase and that existing members would be grandfathered into their current plans for a "generous" period of time. With a two-year price lock, it's hard to argue that Netflix didn't live up to its promise. "We want to get this done well and make sure we grandfather people cleanly," Hastings said last month. Though this is far from as big of a deal as when Netflix split its streaming and DVD services back in 2011, it received a lot of backlash when that happened. Certainly, Netflix is hoping to avoid anything similar from happening once again.
Alongside the price increase, Netflix is also introducing a less expensive plan that doesn't allow viewers to watch anything in high definition. For $7.99 per month, the plan will stream video in standard definition only and will limit viewers to playing back one video at a time — the standard plan allows for two, and a more expensive family plan allows for four. That's a pretty major drawback, and it's hard to imagine subscribers not paying the extra dollar each month if they own an HD screen. But Netflix has been testing the plan for at least a few months now, so seemingly it's seen some success.
Update May 9th, 11:40AM: this article has been updated to include information on Netflix's new SD-only streaming plan.