Netflix may have the most subscribers and a large number of popular original TV shows and movies, but that doesn’t mean that the streaming leader is without criticism. Above all else, one of the biggest points of contention subscribers have had with Netflix lately has been the consistent string of price hikes over the last few years. And now, it seems that a growing percentage of US subscribers are finding the service has simply become too expensive.
US pay-TV consumer advisory website KilltheCableBill surveyed over 1,000 current US Netflix subscribers, and one in four said Netflix has become too expensive – which represents nearly 15 million customers. With an increase in competition in the streaming industry, it’s a significant issue the company can’t afford to ignore.
The history of Netflix price hikes is a long and storied one. When Netflix first launched its streaming video service in 2007, it was bundled along with its home DVD rental service for just $8 (€7.14) a month.
In 2014, Netflix began offering different tiers of streaming-only service, with its Basic plan remaining at $8, its Standard plan going up to $9, and its Premium plan reaching $12.
In 2015, Standard would go up another dollar to $10.
By 2017, Standard plans had reached $11 and Premium had hit $14.
Finally, earlier in 2019, Premium shot up to $16, Standard reached $13, and Basic finally increased for the first time up to $9.
If Netflix’s price points had stayed consistent with inflation since 2014, Basic service would be $8.65, Standard would be $9.74, and Premium would cost just under $13. Of course, Netflix has had to drastically shift its strategy in recent years, dumping billions upon billions of dollars into developing its original TV series and movies, and those costs have to get passed on, in part, to consumers.
While a $1 or $2 price increase every couple of years doesn’t seem like much, the reality is each subscriber has their own price threshold where the cost of the service exceeds its benefits.
Following those 2019 price hikes, a survey of Netflix subscribers found that 27 per cent of subscribers said the raise in monthly price was enough for them to consider cancelling their subscriptions. Of course, only a small percentage of that group probably actually cancelled their service, but the fact still remains that if Netflix continues to get more expensive, it could reach a price point that finally drives subscribers away in droves.
Now, as Netflix is poised to face its stiffest competition ever as the long-awaited Disney+ is released later this year, KilltheCableBill wanted to know how Netflix subscribers are currently feeling about the value they get from their subscription.
For the survey, KilltheCableBill asked 1,004 current Netflix subscribers the following question: “What do you think of the current price you’re paying for Netflix?”
Below are the results received from the respondents:
According to the results, the vast majority of Netflix users think the service is reasonably priced. Still, nearly one in four subscribers think the streaming giant become too expensive; 24.3 per cent of US subscribers represents nearly 14.6 million customers, meaning as soon as a comparable, less expensive option appears, a large portion of Netflix’s domestic consumer base could jump ship.
KilltheCableBill notes that the streaming world is changing. As studios, media conglomerates, and tech firms have all begin launching their own services, many streamers are now forced to juggle multiple subscriptions in order to have access to all of the content they want to watch. And when you’re paying for a handful of streaming services, one that regularly increases in price eventually may not make the cut, it suggests.
The content wars and constant price hikes now have some analysts wondering if the current streaming world has created an economic bubble. Will Netflix’s price hikes be the needle that pops it,” wonders KilltheCableBill.