Despite raising North American prices a year ago, Netflix is getting cheaper in over 30 countries. Although that seems to be a contradiction at first glance, the company appears to be experimenting with the right balance of global revenue and subscriber growth as viewer habits change post-lockdowns.
The company has cut prices by as much as half in parts of the Middle East (Yemen, Jordan, Libya and Iran), Sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya), Europe (Croatia, Slovenia and Bulgaria), Latin America (Nicaragua, Ecuador and Venezuela) and Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines). Although periodic price increases have become a regular occurrence for Netflix, it also introduced a cheaper ad-supported plan in 12 countries last October.
The subscription price cuts come as several other streaming services (including Disney+, Hulu and Sling TV) have raised prices recently. “It definitely goes against the recent trends not just for Netflix, but for the broader streaming industry,” John Hodulik, media and entertainment analyst at UBS Group AG told The Wall Street Journal. “Some of these cuts on a percentage basis are substantial,” he said.
In Netflix’s January earnings call, co-CEO Greg Peters said the company wants to find areas where it can raise prices, helping to fund new content investments. “We think of ourselves as a non-substitutable good,” said Peters. The regional price increases let Netflix add subscribers to global markets where its share could be higher. The fact that rival services, including Disney+, HBO Max and Paramount+, are expanding globally likely weighed in the decision.
Netflix is still rolling out a new monthly fee for people who share their login credentials outside their homes. After trialing the program in Latin America, the company has rolled out paid account sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. The new fee costs $8 in Canada and New Zealand, €4 in Portugal and €6 in Spain. It’s expected to come to the US early this year.