Netflix hikes UK prices – and reveals impact of password sharing ban

Netflix has increased the cost of premium subscriptions in the UK.

The streaming giant says American and French customers will also be affected – and revealed a crackdown on password sharing that began in May had failed to dent demand.

Netflix said almost nine million households signed up worldwide between July and September – the biggest surge in subscriber numbers since COVID lockdowns in early 2020.

Netflix on a tablet. File pic

That’s substantially higher than the six million new subscribers that analysts on Wall Street had been expecting, and Netflix now has 247 million customers worldwide.

The company – behind hits including The Crown – expects to attract a further nine million subscribers in the final three months of this year, including the all-important Christmas period.

But its premium ad-free plan now costs £17.99 in the UK – a rise of £2 – with basic plans priced at £7.99. Ad-supported and standard subscriptions remain at their current levels.

Shares rose by as much as 13% in after-hours trading – but revenues of $8.54bn (£7.05bn) in the third quarter slightly missed Wall Street estimates.

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Analysts said the growth in subscribers shows Netflix is thriving despite Hollywood strikes that have shut down the bulk of productions in the US.

While film and television writers agreed a new contract this month, actors remain off work.

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Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The ad-supported tier is still very much in its infancy, and while a respectable whack of revenue’s being generated, the focus is very much on what the longer-term growth trajectory will be.

“There have been rumblings that the ad business isn’t as hot as it could be so there’s pressure for performance to keep moving upwards.

“The market is increasingly preoccupied with where Netflix’s long-term growth drivers are coming from, with a limit to how far membership prices can be inflated in the current environment and the tailwind from the password crackdown due to taper out at pretty exceptional speed.”