On Friday, technology website The Verge confirmed with a Netflix spokesperson that the planned price increase would start rolling out to customers in the United States over the next few weeks.
The price hike was slated to take effect at the end of March, but some Netflix customers say their bills have already started seeing the fee increase, The Verge said.
Netflix first told customers in January that the base cost of its subscription — which includes high-definition streaming on two devices at one time — will cost $15.50 a month.
The price makes it one of the most-expensive subscription video streaming services on the market. Amazon Prime Video is included with an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $15 a month or $140 a year. HBO Max, which is operated by AT&T’s WarnerMedia subsidiary, costs $10 a month with advertisements and $15 a month without commercial interruptions.
Netflix does offer a cheaper tier of service at $10 a month, but customers are limited to using the service on one device at a time with lower quality video. The company also has a more-expensive tier with ultra high-definition (UHD/4K) video streams and the ability to watch content on four devices simultaneously for $20 a month.
Netflix has steadily increased its subscription prices about once per yer as it sought to recoup costs associated with content development and licensing. The company has found itself in a position of developing more of its own content as licensors like the Walt Disney Company (Disney, ABC), Paramount Global (Showtime, CBS) and Comcast’s NBC Universal have moved TV shows off Netflix and onto their own startup streaming services.
In addition to content costs, Netflix has also started exploring other streaming products — specifically, digital video games — to offer as a way of growing its customer base and keeping existing customers locked into their subscriptions.