June 12, 2015

US tech giant shafts the UK: Netflix price rise for new customers

I got an email this week from Netflix:
In order to continue adding more TV programmes and films, including great Netflix series such as House of Cards and Better Call Saul, we are increasing our price for new members from £6.99 to £7.49 for the 2 screens at a time plan. As a thank you for being a member of Netflix already, your current pricing will remain in effect and we guarantee your price will not change until May 2016. 
Whilst it's comforting to know that my monthly subscription isn't going to rise for a while, I do wonder why they've increased the price for new customers at a time when it's fighting for customers with alternative over-the-top services such as Amazon Prime Video (which has a superior back catalogue of films and TV) and Now TV (which seems to be in much better shape than it was this time last year). Does Netflix believe it has already won the battle? If it does, I think it is seriously mistaken as you should never underestimate the corporate might of Sky or Amazon, especially as they undercut the new pricing (NowTV is £6.99 for a month of Entertainment channels and On Demand, Amazon Prime Instant Video is £5.99 a month or £79 a year if you go for the all-in Amazon Prime). Where does that leave Netflix with its TV oldies-but-goldies and a limited film catalogue when compared with its rivals?
TechRadar gives some perspective on the price hike:
"To continue adding more TV shows and movies, we're modestly raising the price for new members who choose the two-screen plan from £6.99 to £7.49," reads the statement from Netflix. "Pricing on other plans remains unchanged. As a thank you to existing members on the two-screen plan, their current plan and price will not change for one year." So there is to be no change to the pricing on either the basic £5.99 SD package or the uber £8.99 four device 4K package. It does though look like we're alone in this as Netflix has informed us the US and Australian services aren't going to be affected by the price changes.
Another example of UK customers being seen as an easy cash cow for a large US tech company with a currency conversion rate that just galls. The exchange rate as I write is a dollar equals 64p, so the US Netflix HD service should be £5.75 (it's $8.99 in the States). Add in the paucity of UK content (the US site has over twice the content of UK according to MAFT, including a far superior BBC and Channel 4 back catalogue) and I'm starting to feel well and truly mugged.
No wonder a Google Search for Netflix UK shows so many results on how to access the US version and pay just the US price...


The Unsung-Hero said...

Easily solved. Subscribe via a U.S iTunes account.

sibod said...

I think it's based on the value of Netflix's onw content.

Daredevil, House of Cards, Orange is the new black, Sens8, Hemlock Grove, Bloodline, Frankie and Grace, Kimmie Schmidt, Marco Polo, Bojack Horseman, the range of Dreamworks licenced cartoon, and a whole load more to come.

Most of Amazon's content, however, is available elsewhere - there are scant few shows that are original as they aren't spending nearly as much on original content.

Just last night, i was watching the Expendables 3 on Netflix, for example.

It's also worth noting that the £6.99 Entertainment pack on NowTV is not comparable to the amazon prime and Netflix packages, as it neither has the breadth of content, nor the movies of the latter.
Most of the 'new' content is just catchup, and unavailable after 2-4 weeks.
Furthermore, it's not 5.1 surround or 1080p.
So actually, that £6.99 is NOT cheap.