The cost of watching Netflix hits from Bridgerton to The Crown is to increase, as the streaming platform raises its prices for subscribers in the UK and Ireland for the second time in less than 18 months.
The move, the latest sign of the financial toll the growing competition is taking on the world’s most popular service, follows a round of price rises for UK subscribers in December 2020 and those in Ireland in March last year.
Netflix, which has about 14 million UK subscribers and 600,000 in Ireland, according to Ampere Analysis, is to raise the price of its most popular package, which offers simultaneous viewing on two screens, HD and the ability to download shows and films to two devices, to £10.99 a month.
It is also raising the price of its basic package for the first time in a decade. The entry-level plan, which allows viewers to watch only one screen at a time and download to one device, will rise by £1 a month to £6.99.
The cost of Netflix’s premium plan, which allows Netflix to be watched on up to four different screens at a time and downloads to up to four devices, will increase by £2 a month to £15.99.
In Ireland the basic plan will rise by €1 to €8.99, the standard package will increase from €12.99 to €14.99 and the premium tier will rise from €17.99 to €20.99.
The price rises, which were expected after a hefty increase for its US subscribers in January, will come into effect immediately for new subscribers. Existing subscribers will get 30 days notice by email, depending on their billing cycle.
Netflix said the increases were the inevitable cost associated with maintaining a continual pipeline of new content for viewers amid rising competition from rivals including Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max.
“We have always been focused on providing our members both quality and clear value for their membership,” said a Netflix spokesperson.
“Our updated prices reflect the investment we have made in our service and catalogue and will allow us to continue making the series, documentaries and films our members love as well as investing in talent and the creative industry. We offer a range of plans so members can choose a price that works best for them.”
The UK is Netflix’s biggest production base for TV shows and films outside the US with a $1bn annual content spend.
Before the two rounds of price rises Netflix’s most popular tier cost £8.99 and its premium plan cost £11.99.
Its rival Disney+, which launched in the UK in early 2020, raised its prices from £5.99 to £7.99 last year. The decision was taken after it doubled its content by adding its Star service to Disney+, offering programmes designed to appeal to a wider non-Disney audience, such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, 24 and The X-Files.