Netflix isn’t exactly known for making negative press – not since its facepalm-worthy Qwikster fiasco that cost the company nearly a million subscribers, that is. This weekend, however, Netflix users and tech journalists alike have been lighting up the internet with speculation and criticism of Netflix’s latest experiment: price hikes.
Yes, it’s true. The big red streaming service might be raising prices, at least in some markets. Over the weekend, Netflix conducted a series of user loyalty experiments to see how subscribers would respond to a hike in their monthly fee for the streaming service. The experiment was carried out in Australia, where some users saw their prices go up as much as 20%. In a statement provided to news.com.au., a spokesperson for Netflix said that the price hike is a test to see just how much users are willing to pay for the streaming service:
We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time. In this case, we are testing slightly different price points to better understand how consumers value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer it generally.
Netflix’s website displayed the new higher prices in certain Australian markets over the weekend. Netflix has yet to announce how those hikes might have affected their subscriber base, but already some outlets are hailing the move as “the most anti-consumer move Netflix has ever made.” Still, Netflix monthly fees – even if they go up a few dollars – are still far below what cable companies charge each month. With streaming service subscriptions and cable-cutting ever on the rise, small price hikes are unlikely to reverse the trend.