Thursday 30 May 2019 2:43 pm

Netflix raises prices by 20 per cent as it blames $15bn production budget

Netflix is raising the prices of some of its subscriptions by as much as 20 per cent as it prepares to ramp up investment in new TV shows and films.

The streaming service is increasing the cost of its standard plan, which allows users to watch on two screens, by £1 to £8.99, while the premium package, which offers viewing on four screens, will go up £2 to £11.99.

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The price of the basic plan, which is limited to one screen and does not offer high definition, will remain unchanged at £5.99.

Netflix said the new prices will come into effect immediately for new customers, while existing customers will be charged the increase rate from their next monthly bill.

While the platform increased its US prices earlier this year, the hike marks the first time it has increased UK prices since October 2017.

“We change our prices from time to time to reflect the significant investments we’ve made in new TV shows and films, as well as improvements to our product,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

“We have more than 50 productions planned in the UK this year, including new seasons of Black Mirror, Sex Education and After Life. Our basic membership will remain at the same price, ensuring as many people as possible can enjoy our content.”

Netflix’s content budget hit more than $13bn (£10bn) last year and the firm is expected to spend as much as $15bn in 2019.

It comes amid growing competition in the on-demand streaming market, with Disney set to launch its eagerly-anticipated platform later this year.

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In the UK, ITV and BBC are gearing up for the rollout of their joint venture Britbox, which they hope will challenge Netflix’s dominance in the market.

But figures released by Ofcom showed Netflix and Amazon raked in revenue of £1.1bn from UK customers last year, roughly twice as much as the on-demand platforms of ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.