Netflix is raising prices: first for new members, then everyone

Gotta pay more to stream

The writing has been on the wall for some time, but now Netflix has confirmed it plans to raise membership prices.

The hike, the company noted in its Q1 shareholder letter, will affect new members first, and it will likely go on the books in the coming months. The door is wide open for current customers to eventually see a price jump as well.

"Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only," the letter read. "Existing members would stay at current pricing (e.g. $7.99 in the US) for a generous time period."

A one to two dollar increase would bring the US' $7.99 (about £4.76, AU$8.56) a month price up to $8.99 (about £5.35, AU$9.63) or $9.99 (about £5.95, AU$10.71).

The reasoning behind raising prices? It would help Netflix "acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience."

Update: In a webcast, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the "generous time period" for current customers to enjoy their current rates would likely be one to two years.

If the price is right

Hastings and CFO David Wells, who penned the shareholder note, related that when prices went up in January for new members in Ireland - from €6.99 to €7.99 - the impact was minimal.

Existing members were grandfathered in at €6.99 for two years.

A dollar increase in the US would bring the price of above a Hulu Plus membership, which sits at $7.99. Granted, Hulu Plus bombards its members with advertisements, an annoyance Netflix has avoided.

During its last earnings release, the streaming service revealed that it's considering a three-tier pricing structure for new customers, though said at the time it was in no rush to implement such a cost structure.

The last time Netflix fiddled with prices, customers mutinied. The company proposed in 2011 separating its DVD service into a service called "Qwikster," charging the same for it and its streaming service. The higher prices and Netflix's perceived arrogance through the ordeal led to customers unsubscribing by the droves.

Netflix eventually abandoned Qwikster.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.