The change may reflect that it is getting more expensive for Netflix and other video distributors to secure deals for television and movie content. In August, Netflix announced it would not renew a deal with cable network Epix, costing U.S. subscribers access to some high-profile movies including "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "World War Z" and "Transformers: Age of Extinction." Rival Hulu quickly swooped in to make a deal of its own with Epix.
The price hike will allow the company to offer more original content, said company spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo. This year alone, Netflix introduced more than two dozen new series or films, including “Narcos,” a popular crime drama focusing on the life of Pablo Escobar and his Medellin drug cartel.
Even as Netflix has surged past 65 million users globally, the firm faces pressure from other new streaming video apps including Dish’s SlingTV, HBO Now and even offerings from Verizon and Comcast. Some of these apps are priced at upwards of $15 per month, which could also help explain the gradual rise in Netflix’s own prices. But Netflix is still king when it comes to the number of subscribers.
Netflix must be confident that raising prices will not drive away customers, said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG. Even with the increase, a monthly Netflix subscription is still 30 percent cheaper than HBO's streaming service, he said.
It's "likely they are confident in how well they are growing and feel like they have the consumer love to push price faster than expected," said Greenfield.
This comes as Netflix seeks to grow aggressively overseas. The company announced plans recently to launch its service in Cuba. In North America, Netflix accounts for nearly 37 percent of all Internet traffic at peak hours, fueling viewers' insatiable appetite for premium television content even as the very definition of television is changing.
The company's stock jumped more than 6 percent after the announcement, closing at about $114 a share.