Netflix price raise is unethical

Bella Lee, Staff writer

In the time of COVID, people have been flocking to the streaming services to satiate their thirst for normalcy. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu or Disney+, there isn’t much entertainment to be found when the world is shut down, so we must make do.

Netflix is no stranger to the influx of users during quarantine time. When the documentary series “Tiger King” was released shortly after the national emergency was declared, Netflix’s numbers exploded.

While Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max saw surges in their popularity as well, Netflix has continually remained on top.

However, Netflix may be letting it get to their heads. On Oct. 30, Netflix announced that they would be raising their prices. The standard plan would now cost $14 per month, up $1 from last year. The premium subscription would go up $2 to $18 per month.

The basic plan remains unchanged at $9 per month. I, like pretty much every college student I know, leech off my parents’ streaming services to keep myself entertained, Netflix being among those services, but even I find this ridiculous.

Users are indubitably annoyed, but Netflix is standing their ground. “We understand people have more entertainment choices than ever and we’re committed to delivering an even better experience for our members,” said a spokesperson for Netflix. “We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer more variety of TV shows and films.”

But has Netflix considered the fact that the prices may cost them customers? Before the price raises, the plans were $13 per month for the standard and $16 for the premium. Even a couple dollars can make a huge difference.

If you do the math, the plans went from $156 per year to $168 per year for the standard plan, while the premium increased from $192 per year to $216 per year. While this is a good thing on Netflix’s part, since they would be increasing their profits (their stock rose 5% following the news), over time it could negatively affect those that use Netflix.

For many, Netflix is possibly the only source of entertainment they have, since they may not be able to afford cable or video games, and they may not be able to afford this price increase.

These couple of dollars could be put toward paying bills or putting food on the table, and families and those that live by themselves aren’t about to sacrifice that so that they can catch the latest episode of their favorite show or the release of a highly anticipated movie.

And as the icing on the cake, they’re doing this price increase during a pandemic, at a time where unemployment rates are at an all-time high. That just seems a bit unethical on their part.

While I love getting a dose of my favorite shows and movies on Netflix just as much as the next person, there’s no way my family and I are willing to pay this, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones. We’re already losing beloved shows like The Office next year. We really don’t need any more pain.