Netflix raises UK prices to cover cost of content

A still from Tiger King
image captionShows like Tiger King kept people entertained during the first UK lockdown

Netflix is to put up the cost of some of its UK subscriptions, with a standard monthly package going up from £8.99 to £9.99 and a premium one rising from £11.99 to £13.99.

The changes kick in from February with customers given a month’s notice.

While Netflix’s basic plan remains at £5.99 a month, it said the price rises reflected money spent on content.

But comparison site Uswitch said the timing was unfortunate with UK citizens living under national lockdowns.

The streaming service’s subscriber numbers have jumped during the pandemic, with almost 16 million new customers added worldwide in the first three months of 2020 alone.

In the UK, during the first national lockdown which started in March 2020, the amount of streaming content watched by consumers rose by a third compared with the previous year.

But Netflix faces tough competition from rivals, such as Disney+, which has also announced price rises of £2 per month up to £7.99 or £79.90 for a full year.

Netflix said: “This year we’re spending over $1bn [£736m] in the UK on new, locally-made films, series and documentaries, helping to create thousands of jobs and showcasing British storytelling at its best – with everything from The Crown, to Sex Education and Top Boy, plus many, many more.

“Our price change reflects the significant investments we’ve made in new TV shows and films, as well as improvements to our product.”

‘Lifeline’

A standard Netflix subscription gives users HD streaming on two devices at the same time with the ability to download to two phones or tablets. The premium service allows streaming on up to four screens at once, as well as offering 4K streaming and downloading to four phones or tablets.

Subscribers who do not want to pay the extra can cancel their plan at any time without penalty or simply shift to the basic package, which allows users to watch movies and TV shows in standard definition on one device only and download to one mobile or tablet.

Nick Baker, streaming and TV expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Netflix has been a lifeline for many people during lockdown, so this price rise is an unwanted extra expense for households feeling the financial pressure. 

“It’s unfortunate timing that this price hike coincides with another national lockdown, when all of us will be streaming more television and films than ever.”

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