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That’s One Pricey Subscription

Illustration by Cath Virginia / The Verge

By Emma Roth

There was a moment, in 2019, when streaming services were one heck of a deal. Apple TV Plus was free if you bought any kind of Apple device; you could get Disney Plus for $4 per month and lock that price in for three years; Hulu lowered its price to stay competitive; and you could share your Netflix account with as many friends, family members, roommates, and exes as you liked.

Those days are now far behind us. This year alone, all of the major names in streaming — Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Max, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, and Peacock — have raised their prices. Netflix’s most expensive plan has officially crossed the $20 threshold, and other services are steadily headed in that direction. The price of streaming is at an all-time high.

For streaming veterans like Netflix and Hulu, price hikes have become an almost yearly ritual. But for relatively young services, such as Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Peacock, and Apple TV Plus, the price increases have only just begun. That leaves cord-cutters with ever-increasing bills and one big question: when will the price hikes stop?

Probably not anytime soon.

“Is there an upper bound where it’s going to get too expensive and people will just stop subscribing? Of course,” Paul Erickson, the principal at Erickson Strategy & Insights, tells The Verge. “But I think that we’re a long way from that.”

Netflix has guided the industry as the elder sibling in the streaming world. It’s had many years to experiment with its pricing tiers, types of content, and new features. Not only was the streamer the first to introduce a pricier Premium plan in April 2013 but it was also the first to raise the price of its base plan, bringing its Standard tier from $7.99 to $8.99 in 2014. (It is now nearly double where it started.)

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This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.

The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience. Our original editorial insight was that technology had migrated from the far fringes of the culture to the absolute center as mobile technology created a new generation of digital consumers. Now, we live in a dazzling world of screens that has ushered in revolutions in media, transportation, and science. The future is arriving faster than ever.