Is Netflix About to Raise Its Prices Again?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 1 2014 5:40 PM

Is Netflix About to Raise Its Prices Again?

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Even if you pay the higher fee, this woman will not deliver your DVDs.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Most companies incorporate small, routine price increases regularly and quietly, and nobody cares. But Netflix—which is responsible for a plurality of all North American downstream internet traffic—is so widely beloved and relied upon that any shift in price sends ripples of panic and irritation through the web. 

It is with caution and trepidation, then, that Netflix tests out its new pricing scheme, which would lower some users' fee while raising others'. The plan, designed to knock multiple users off a single account, offers both a $6.99 individual plan and a $9.99 group plan, allowing up to 3 users access one account. Currently, only some new Netflix users are given the decision between an individual and group plan, but the company may soon formally institute the new scheme for all users.

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The move comes two years after Netflix's hilariously calamitous decision to separate out its streaming and DVD services, which increased some users' fees by a startling 60 percent. Making matters worse, the company seemed ill-prepared to make the switch: Although it renamed its DVD service "Qwikster," it never procured a Twitter account, discovering a little too late that the "Qwikster" username was already taken by a stoner whose profile photo showed Elmo smoking a large joint. (He still has the account, but he's since changed the picture.) The plan was quickly canceled, and Netflix has refrained from meddling with its prices—until now.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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