Your Netflix Membership Could Start Costing More

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  • Netflix raised its prices recently across its three content tiers.
  • Now, it's looking at changes that could make subscriptions even more expensive.

Talk about unwelcome news.

When the COVID-19 outbreak first hit, Netflix served as a bit of a lifeline for Americans who suddenly found themselves holed up at home with little to do. But more recently, Netflix has been losing subscribers. And it's trying to come up with ways to generate more revenue in light of that.

Earlier this year, Netflix raised its prices across its three content tiers. And now, subscribers are paying $9.99 a month for the most basic tier, $15.49 a month for the standard tier, and $19.99 a month from the top tier -- up from $8.99, $13.99, and $17.99, respectively.

Meanwhile, several months ago, Netflix began cracking down on password sharing by introducing an extra member fee for users who share an account with a person they don't live with. So far, that fee has yet to roll out in the U.S., but that may not always be the case.

And earlier this week, Netflix announced a new extra homes fee that will apply to markets outside the U.S. This fee will kick in when subscribers access their Netflix accounts on a TV that's located outside their own homes. Like its extra member fee, Netflix's extra homes fee could eventually apply domestically -- and that's something subscribers will need to gear up for.

Will subscribers soon have to pay more for Netflix?

These days, consumers are racking up sky-high credit card bills in an effort to keep up with rising living costs. The last thing they need is a Netflix fee hike -- or series of fee hikes -- to add to their expenses.

So far, Netflix's extra member fee amounts to $2 to $3 in the markets it's been rolled out in, while the extra homes fee ranges from $1.70 to $2.99. These are actually pretty large numbers compared to the base cost of Netflix's various tiers.

Now, one reason to perhaps not worry so much about Netflix fee hikes is that the streaming service giant is very mindful of not wanting to lose subscribers given recent trends. At the same time, though, Netflix may be growing increasingly desperate for revenue, so much so that it has no choice but to start tacking on fees.

If the extra member fee does come into play, the silver lining is that it will only apply to U.S. consumers who actually share their accounts. And so in that case, it's conceivable that two people could split the total cost of Netflix between them, thereby absorbing that fee together and whittling it down to a more negligible amount.

Netflix is also looking at adding an ad-supported content tier that would cost less than its current ad-free plans. The downside of that option is, well, having to sit through ads. The upside, however, is getting to pay less if the cost of Netflix is becoming a burden.

Is a Netflix subscription worth it?

Consumers who use Netflix a lot may find that their current fees are more than worth paying. On the other hand, those who use Netflix sporadically may want to reassess that expense, especially if the company decides to impose added fees that make the service more expensive.

While the new ad-supported tier has been touted as a more affordable alternative for consumers, the reality is that ads can easily detract from the experience of being able to sit back, relax, and enjoy some entertaining TV. And given that so many people turn to Netflix as a means of escaping life's crummier moments, that's a big deal.

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