With just a few weeks left until the Stranger Things Season 2 premiere, new and existing Netflix subscribers will have to pay a bit more for the streaming service. Starting today, October 5 new Netflix subscribers will be charged $10.99 for its most popular plan, the "two-stream HD tier," where subscribers can stream in HD on up to two devices, a $1 increase from the $9.99 price. Netflix is also hiking up the price of its "family plan," the four stream HD tier that also includes Ultra HD 4K content, from $11.99 a month to $13.99 a month. Here's what a Netflix representative had to say in a statement about the price increase.
"From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features and improve the overall Netflix experience to help members find something great to watch even faster."
Netflix will notify existing subscribers on October 19 of the price increase for their most popular plans, but the most basic option, a single-stream, non-HD plan, will remain unchanged at $7.99 a month. This marks the first price increase since October 2015, when the two-stream plan was bumped up from $7.99 to $9.99, with the new pricing rolling out to all existing members by May 2016. The price increase for new subscribers comes just ahead of the Stranger Things Season 2 premiere on October 27, which is shaping up to be one of this fall's most anticipated TV events.
Much like the last price increase, it will "roll out" to existing members intermittently over the course of the next few months, so current Netflix subscribers might not have to shell out that extra buck or two for awhile now. The price increase was expected by many Wall Street analysts, given that the streaming service has spent a whopping $6 billion on programming costs, which is expected to rise to $7 billion this year. It remains to be seen whether or not this price increase will result in a rash of cancellations, although that seems unlikely, with RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney revealing that he thinks that the streaming service's, "pricing power has increased materially over the past few years as their content slate and technology has improved," adding that the price hike likely won't lead to a rash of cancellations, adding that the content lineup is more important that the price.
After news of the price increase broke, Netflix's shares reached an all-time high, rising 4% to a whopping $192.80 per share in Thursday morning trading. Netflix has also been pulling out all the stops on social media to promote this new season of Stranger Things, with a new Stranger Things Season 2 posters, including the latest that showcased breakout character Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) investigating a rotten pumpkin patch. Given the widespread popularity of Stranger Things, it seems unlikely that this price increase will have any affect on viewership whatsoever. If you're an existing subscriber wondering when your price increase will go into effect, Variety reports that Netflix will give notify subscribers 30 days in advance before their price increase goes into effect.