Netflix price hike renews cost questions for streaming subscribers

Netflix: how high will it go?

Another year, another Netflix price increase.

At least that's how it might feel for Canadians after the global streaming platform announced last week it's inching up the cost of its most popular subscription packages once again by a dollar or two per month.

On Friday, Netflix said the price for its standard plan, which includes high-definition video and two simultaneous streams, will rise $1.50 to $16.49 per month, while the premium package, with Ultra HD access and four streams, is going up $2 to $20.99.

The basic plan with standard definition video remains unchanged at $9.99.

While Netflix isn't the only streaming giant to hike prices, it's done so the most frequently, which leads London, Ont.-based analyst Carmi Levy to wonder if the company is testing how much more it can charge.

He says he expects Netflix to continue pushing up its price "bit-by-bit" to see "how much resistance consumers have to price increases."

Netflix last raised its Canadian prices in October 2020, boosting the standard plan by $1 and the premium plan by $2. However, subscribers also felt an extra pinch last year when the company added GST or HST charges to its bills on Canada Day.

Other streaming companies have jacked up prices amid the pandemic, too.

Disney Plus added another $3 to customers' bills last year as it introduced a selection of programming for grownups through a section of the service dubbed Star.

Levy suggests no matter which platform boosts its price, the move itself is bound to make even longtime subscribers reflect on their bills.

"Consumers are going to be looking at their streaming budgets and asking themselves why they've committed to more than one service on an ongoing basis and they're going to start to pull back," he said.

"I think we're starting to get to that point."

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