If you’re thinking of joining Netflix so you can spend weekends binge-watching shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Dexter,” get ready to cough up a little more cash for that monthly subscription.
The Los Gatos, California-based streaming service will now charge new users $9 for a monthly membership, $1 more than the former price of $8.
Those who already use the company’s services will lock in the same price of $8 until May 2016. Currently, there are approximately 36 million U.S. subscribers.
The company, which was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, claims it needs more revenue to fund original programs like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
By holding off the price increase for current loyal subscribers, Netflix hopes to sidestep the same type of public backlash it received in 2011, when it planned to increase the cost of its services to a total of $16 -- $8 per month for DVDs and $8 for streaming services. Anyone who wished to utilize both had to pay the full amount of $16. Netflix planned to rebrand and restructure its DVD sector as an independent subsidiary called Qwikster.
Subscribers were outraged, and the company lost 800,000 users during the third quarter of 2011. Netflix issued an apology and then later abandoned the Qwikster idea.
“It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes,” founder Hastings posted on the Netflix blog in September 2011. “That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.”
Will we see the same caliber of outrage over the $1 price increase? Probably not. It’s only a dollar. But as Netflix adds more original content to its site, will users face more frequent and dramatic price increases in the future? We hope not. If so, we may have to say goodbye to our 24-hour-long marathons of “The Office.”