LOS ANGELES, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc has raised its monthly subscription price by $1 to $2 per month in the United States depending on the plan, the company said on Friday, to help pay for new programming to compete crowded streaming. television market.

The standard plan, which allows two simultaneous streams, now costs $15.49 per month, compared to $13.99 in the US.

Prices have also increased in Canada, where the standard plan has gone from C$14.99 to C$16.49.

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Shares of Netflix gained nearly 3% to $533.84 on the Nasdaq after Reuters broke news of the price hike. They closed 1.3% higher at $525.69.

The increases, the first in these markets since October 2020, took effect immediately for new customers. Existing members will see the new prices in the coming weeks when they receive their monthly invoices.

“We understand that people have more entertainment choices than ever before and we are committed to providing an even better experience for our members,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

“We are updating our prices so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options. As always, we offer a range of plans so members can choose a price that suits their budget,” added the spokesperson.

The world’s biggest streaming service faces the toughest competition from companies looking to lure viewers into online entertainment. Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia (TN), Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) are among rivals pumping billions into new shows.

Netflix added customers despite previous price increases, showing its members were willing to accept higher costs, Evercore ISI analyst Mark Mahaney said.

“It’s proof that Netflix has pricing power,” Mahaney said.

Netflix had announced that it would spend $17 billion on programming in 2021. The company did not disclose its spending for 2022.

The US price of Netflix’s premium plan, which allows four streams at once and streaming in ultra HD, has been increased by $2 to $19.99 per month. For Netflix’s basic plan, with one stream, the cost has increased by $1 to $9.99 per month.

In Canada, the premium plan increased by CA$2 to CA$20.99, and the basic plan remained unchanged at CA$9.99.

At $15.49 per month, Netflix’s standard US plan now costs more than its competitors. HBO Max, owned by AT&T Inc (TN), is currently running a promotion for $11.99 per month for 12 months.

Disney+ from Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) is priced at $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

The United States and Canada is Netflix’s largest region with 74 million streaming customers as of September 2021. The region accounted for nearly 44% of the company’s revenue in Q3 2021, or approximately $3.3 billion. .

Most of the company’s new subscribers come from overseas.

Netflix subscriber growth slowed after a boom at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but rebounded with the help of global phenomenon “Squid Game,” a dystopian thriller from South Korea released in September. Total global subscriptions reached 213.6 million.

The company’s next subscriber report is due Thursday when Netflix releases its quarterly results. Analysts expect the company to report 8.5 million new signups from October to December, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data, bringing its global subscriber base to 222 million.

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Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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