It’s releasing 700 new shows this year. Think about that. It’s almost two new shows per day, counting new seasons of existing series.
And it turns out many subscribers absolutely love it. In fact, a new study by a Wall Street firm says a majority of U.S. Netflix users would be willing to pay a lot more for the service –40 percent or more than they currently pay.
That has to be tempting to Netlix, which simultaneously has spent $8 billion to produce and license new shows.
And it’s why the same Wall Street firm, Piper Jaffray, is predicting that Netflix will “bump pricing up across many of its markets in 2019,” according to Business Insider, because a “primary determinant in the ability of Netflix to raise price is subscriber perception of content quality.”
Or to put it a bit more plainly: people like it, so they’re willing to pay more, so you can expect Netflix to charge more.
That makes sense. But the news comes in the context of another report–one that says Netflix is actually playing around with an idea to charge less in other parts of the world.
Last week, a Malaysian news site called The Star Online reported that Netflix was trying a somewhat stripped down, mobile device-only subscription plan that goes for 17 Malaysian ringgit a month–which works out to about $4.25 in U.S. currency, and is less than half what a regular Netflix subscription costs in Malaysia.
Netflix confirmed to TechCrunch and USA Today that it’s running these cheaper, mobile-only subscriptions “in a few countries,” but didn’t provide further details. But it’s in keeping with what CEO Reed Hastings told Bloomberg last week, about want to experiment with different pricing strategies around teh world.
Of course, as Netflix users know, the content that you see in one part of the world isn’t always the same as what you’ll see in other parts of the planet. And Netflix has been emphasizing local content recently in Asia, where it faces stiff competition from lower-priced streaming services.
Besides meaning that Netflix, not Apple or Alphabet, keeps the customer data, it also means Netlix doesn’t have to pay a 15 or 30 percent cut to those companies to reach its own subscribers.
That could free up more opportunity to drive prices down in some markets. But not, analysts predict, in the United States and perhaps other wealthier countries.
It might literally be a first world problem, but if these analysts’ predictions are right, we’ll likely be paying a bit more before long. Either way, you’ll probably keep watching.
By the way, I contacted Netflix via email to ask them for comment on these reported price fluctuations, but I haven’t heard anything back. If they do reply I’ll update this column.