Netflix’s great streaming RIP-OFF: Shocking charts reveal how the ‘greedy’ platform hiked its prices by 14% – just two weeks after the David Beckham documentary scored it a record 3.8 MILLION viewers

Netflix’s great streaming RIP-OFF: Shocking charts reveal how the ‘greedy’ platform hiked its prices by 14% – just two weeks after the David Beckham documentary scored it a record 3.8 MILLION viewers

  • Netflix bumped up its prices two weeks after the ‘Beckham’ series was released
  • The first episode of the four-part series saw 3.8 million watch in under a week

Netflix hit the headlines yet again this month, after it announced that it was hiking prices for millions of customers in the UK.

On October 18, the cost of Netflix’s cheapest ad-free tier went up by £1 to £7.99/month, while its most expensive tier was hiked to £17.99. 

This price hike came just weeks after two shows helped score the platform record viewers.

The first episode of ‘Beckham’, released October 4, which sees Posh and Becks reflect on their early romance and marriage, family life and David’s glittering footballing career, scored Netflix a staggering 3.8 million viewers in the UK. 

Meanwhile, the first episode of ‘Harry & Meghan’, which was released in December last year and charts the events leading up to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex breaking free of the Royal family, reeled in an impressive 2.4 million viewers.

In the UK, Netflix's cheapest ad-free tier (Basic) has been increased £1, from £6.99 to £7.99, while its most expensive tier (Premium) has been increased by £2, from £15.99 to £17.99. The other two tiers are unchanged. It's worth noting Netflix's Basic plan is no longer available for new or rejoining members, but if you are currently on the Basic plan, you can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account, Netflix says

According to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (Barb), the first episode of Harry & Meghan recorded 2.4 million UK views in its first day on Netflix, while the second registered 1.5 million. 

Overall, the first episode of Harry & Meghan was watched by average of 4.5 million in the first week of its release, Barb also revealed last year. 

Meanwhile, the first episode of ‘Beckham’ had 3.8 million UK viewers in less than a week since its release, while the second registered 2.8 million, Barb said. 

Although these are big numbers, Barb’s figures are just for the UK and only count streams from TVs – not phones, tablets or laptops – so the overall viewing figures globally will be even more.

It’s worth noting that Netflix bumped up its prices just two weeks after the four-part Beckham series debuted.

However, Ben Barringer, technology analyst at Quilter Cheviot, told MailOnline that he doesn’t think this was a cunning tactic by the company to make money during the wave of interest in the series. 

‘The price increase in the middle of October won’t have been timed specifically for the release of the David Beckham documentary, but it certainly won’t do any harm for the business,’ Mr Barringer said. 

This graph visualises the overall change in Netflix subscribers globally in the past 18 months. In Q2 2022 (the period between April and June 2022), Netflix lost 970,000 subscribers globally, but since then numbers have been rising

Time will tell whether 'Beckham' can break into the list of Netflix's top 10 most viewed shows globally

In the six-part docuseries Harry & Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) detail their experiences leading to their decision to step away from British royal duties and make a new start in the US

‘Ultimately, while brand Beckham does still exist and will drive subscribers to the platform, Netflix then needs to keep them there and it does this by investing in its content.’ 

It was back in April 2022 that Netflix revealed it had lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade.

Between January and March last year, Netflix’s total userbase fell by 200,000, which it blamed on the war on Ukraine and increased competition from the likes of Disney+, Hulu and HBO.  

But things got even worse the following quarter; between April and June 2022, it registered a total subscriber loss of almost one million.

More and more viewers were cancelling their accounts due to additional factors including the cost-of-living crisis and concerns over ‘lack of content’.

Fortunately for the streaming giant, since then it has only been gaining subscribers rather than losing them, and the warts-and-all Harry & Meghan series has undoubtedly played its part. 

Interestingly, Netflix gained an overall 7.7 million subscribers in Q4 2022, between October and December last year – the period when Harry & Meghan was released. 

An expert said Netflix is now 'firing on all cylinders' and has 'got its mojo back' after the subscriber losses

For its most recent quarterly results, for the three months from July and September 2023, Netflix reported an impressive subscriber gain of 9 million, due in part to its lucrative crackdown on password sharing

But the effect the Beckham documentary has had on Netflix subscriber numbers is yet to be seen – as well as how this may be affected by the recent price hikes

Many subscribers could be leaving if they deem £7.99 too much to pay for ad-free content during a cost of living crisis.   

Netflix will reveal subscriber figures for Q4 2023 (from October to December) as part of its quarterly results presentation in January. 

Paolo Pescatore, analyst at PP Foresight, said Netflix is now ‘firing on all cylinders’ and has ‘got its mojo back’ after the subscriber losses. 

‘While there might be a boost due to the Beckham effect, this might hinder subsequent quarters – hence the importance of diversifying and releasing new titles,’ Pescatore told MailOnline. 

Netflix’s password sharing ban explained: Everything you need to know about the plan to stop ‘freeloaders’

Netflix has been cracking down on password-sharing and forcing streaming ‘freeloaders’ to part with their money.

Under new rules, people watching Netflix using someone else’s account will have to create their own logins and pay for their own accounts.

Alternatively, those who still want to share an account with people in a different home will have to sign up to ‘paid sharing’ at a cost of a few extra pounds a month.

To enforce the ban, Netflix tracks IP addresses and device IDs to determine the location of devices that are using a Netflix profile – and make sure they’re all in a single household. 

This lets Netflix know whether an account is being used on a ‘trusted device’ – in other words, if they’re in the same location as other devices that are using the account. 

If there’s a mismatch or any suspicious signs, Netflix’s can block the ‘untrusted’ device from accessing the account. 

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Jonathan Chadwick

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