Netflix and Discovery+ blame Hollywood strikes for rising prices

Netflix and Discovery+ are planning to raise the price of their streaming services, and are doing so in the wake of the Hollywood writers’ strike.

Prices for Netflix will increase in the US and Canada following the 82-day SAG-AFTRA strike, according to the Wall Street Journal. The details of that price hike are currently unknown.

Currently, Netflix costs $15.49 per month. That’s one of its three plans, the other two being a $6.99 ad-supported version and a $19.99 “premium” plan with Ultra HD offerings.

Discovery+ said it plans to increase the cost of its ad-free tier to $8.99, with a $4.99 version offering content with advertisements, according to Forbes.

So far, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Starz, and Shudder – the AMC Networks-owned horror streamer – have raised their prices this year.

Striking writers demanded that they receive bonuses based on the success of their output on the streaming platforms, and in doing so will allow the union to gain access to streaming company viewership data that has long been kept secret. As a result, the move will also force streaming companies to justify their programming moves for the first time.

The new contract also grants writers a minimum compensation of 18 per cent for high-budget films, and a 26 per cent increase in their residuals from streaming programming.

Though the companies have not explicitly blamed the strike for raising their prices, the companies are timing their price increases with the conclusion of the strike.

The new contract negotiated by SAG-AFTRA will amount to only 0.2 per cent of Netflix’s annual revenue, according to the Writers Guild of America’s estimates.

While the writers have won their new contract, Hollywood actors are still striking. Netflix will likely wait to boost its prices until that strike concludes and productions get back to work.

Netflix already increased its prices last year, and made the unpopular move to begin cracking down on users who share their passwords with friends and family members. Disney+ said it also planned to crack down on password sharing to help boost its profits.

Amazon Prime is also getting in on the price hikes, charging its Prime users — who access the service by paying $140 per year — an additional $3 to see programming ad-free.

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