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Netflix raises prices, readjusts priorities as streaming sites spread

After swift backlash against the plan to remove it, the internet finally relaxed when Netflix announced that the classic sitcom “Friends” would still be available on its streaming service in 2019. Yet, some customers don’t seem to realize the underlying impact of keeping another program on the site. The consequences of the collective sigh of relief is already turning many binge-watchers to drop the streaming site and switch over to another company. 

Netflix announced that it is raising the monthly price of all of its streaming plans in the United States, according to The Verge. As of now, the change will affect its new members, with older members seeing the price hike once their subscription expires. 

From time to time, Netflix's "plans and pricing" are adjusted due to the addition of new original TV shows and movies, as well as the desire for a faster streaming experience. The decision to increase its pricing is because of the cost that it takes to create hit original content such as “Black Mirror,” “Stranger Things” and its most recent original series “You.” 

Yet for some, the increase in price does not seem to stop them. But what if Netflix begins to end its deals with some of its partnering companies? Could Netflix become its own production studio? How would customers react? The streamers were already concerned about the near loss of “Friends.” How much are people willing to spend while holding to the hope that Netflix will lower its prices? According to its increasing profitability, it stands to reason that there is no slowing down.  

Back before Netflix was as popular as it is now, customers used to pay an average of $7.99 for the basic unlimited plan. In 2016, the price increase went up to $9.99 and increased in other streaming plans. With the ability to watch on multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones and Smart TVs, many people are loyal to Netflix despite the price increase. As the amount of subscribers continues to grow, the Netflix premium plan is growing from $14 a month to $16. The basic and standard plans will also be increasing, making its content much more valuable. 

A report from CNN Business stated, “The price hike comes as new competitors enter the streaming space. Disney+, the company's new streaming service, will launch this year and will include original content from its most popular brands such as 'Star Wars' and Marvel …” 

NBCUniversal is starting up a streaming service that will have tiered subscriptions. The basic plan will only have films, but the premium version will include original programming as well as blockbusters.

“I think it’s good to have different platforms because it makes the market competitive, but it also keeps the prices of platforms on the lower side in order to attract customers. However, it might be bad in the sense that people have to subscribe to too many streaming sites since there are so many, it adds up,” said Sean Stacer, School of Engineering sophomore. 

Despite the debate between all these different streaming platforms, some believe that Netflix is putting too much new material online and not thinking about how much it costs to produce it. The original programs cost millions of dollars, with the payoff being critical acclaim, view and awards. The fears have subsided recently as Netflix originals gather multiple awards for shows including “Narcos,” the movie “Mowgli” and the recently added documentary about Fyre Festival. 

This is all without mentioning how popular Netflix has been on social media lately. The recent movie, “Bird Box,” featuring actress Sandra Bullock, became a world phenomenon in just the first week, causing people to create memes and challenges based on the film. 

“Original shows are worth staying a subscriber to only if they keep producing high quality content that rivals other streaming services such as Hulu. More money should be spent on the high quality content rather than producing as much low quality content that caters to as much people as possible,” said Aren Bedian, a Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy sophomore. 

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