Netflix and Discovery+ will soon raise the cost of their streaming services as the ongoing actors’ strike continues to hamstring Hollywood, adding the two streamers to a list of companies that have tacked on new services and added more expensive tiers built on exclusive programming.
Netflix is planning to raise the price of its ad-free service in at least the U.S. and Canada after the 82-day SAG-AFTRA strike ends, the Wall Street Journal reported, though the size of the price hike and when it will start is still in flux.
The standard ad-free Netflix experience currently costs users $15.49 per month and is one of three options available to viewers since the service dropped its cheapest ad-free option in July—there’s also a $6.99 ad-supported plan and $19.99 “premium” plan with Ultra HD.
Discovery+ owner Warner Bros. Discovery said this week it will also raise the monthly price of its ad-free tier by $2 for a total monthly cost of $8.99—viewers can see ads on the platform and pay $4.99 (Warner Bros. Discovery also owns pricier streaming service Max).
Netflix and Discovery+ join HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Starz and AMC Networks-owned Shudder in raising their prices so far this year.
Disney+, which shares a parent company with ABC and ESPN, is debating a new live sports tier of its service, according to the Journal, and Warner Bros. Discovery said it, too, will soon add live sports to Max—for $9.99 a month.
Netflix’s looming price increase will be its first since January 2022. Both Netflix and Discovery+ say their streaming services are profitable, though the success of individual programing has long been shrouded in secrecy. Netflix ended June with 238.4 million worldwide subscribers, the company reported, after adding 5.9 million in the April-June period. Those months saw a strong spurt in subscribers as the service cracked down on password sharing and forced any account used by multiple households to split into separate accounts or pay more for the ability to watch in different places. Warner Bros. Discovery said its streaming services had 95.8 million users as of August, split between HBO, Discovery+ and Max.
$15.99. At that monthly price, ad-free Max is the most expensive of the major ad-free streaming services, followed by Netflix at $15.49, Hulu at $14.99 and both Paramount+ and Peacock Premium each cost $11.99. Many of those services also offer cheaper ad-supported tiers.
Actors joined writers in a strike 82 days ago that largely paused production on all TV shows and movies. The writers ended their 148-day strike last week after the Writers Guild of America negotiated a new contract with a coalition of Hollywood studios, which could push limited streaming data into the light for the first time. The deal will require streamers to report viewership numbers of original and syndicated content to the WGA, and while those numbers could be subject to nondisclosure agreements and not released to the public, the union will likely still be able to release aggregated data. The data will allow writers to get bonuses based on the success of their work on streaming platforms, and will make companies justify their in-house programming decisions to writers for the first time.
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