Netflix costs as much as $16 per month – guess how much more people are willing to spend on streaming

Andy Meek

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Netflix has apparently done a good job of training people to expect to pay only rock-bottom prices for a streaming video subscription service. A new poll finds that most people think all the streaming services they pay for — from Hulu to Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney+ and Apple TV+ — should cost a combined $21 or so, at most.

That’s the takeaway from a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll which finds that $21 is the optimal sweet spot within customers’ range of price expectations (between $17 and $27) that they have for their streaming subscriptions in aggregate. With the low end being “too good to be true” and obviously the high end representing the “too expensive” side of the range.

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It’s hard not to see Netflix’s handiwork here, since it’s long been the king of the streaming hill and raced to global supremacy thanks in part to a ridiculously low monthly price that gave customers access to a veritable buffet of video. The idea being that the all-you-can-eat binge model is priced at a level that’s too good to turn down and which doesn’t have to be axed when consumers enter belt-tightening mode.

Even more important, though — Netflix’s pricing apparently cements in customers’ minds how much they’re willing to pay for and leaves little wiggle room for the company’s streaming rivals to come in at higher prices.

To get an idea of how quickly all this adds up, consider that Netflix offers a basic plan for $8.99, a standard plan with HD quality video for $12.99 and a premium plan for $15.99 that provides up to four Ultra HD streams. Meanwhile, Disney+ is coming to market in November with a $7 monthly plan, while WarnerMedia’s forthcoming HBO Max service is expected to cost at least $17 a month — and Apple likewise hasn’t revealed yet how it will price its coming Apple TV+ service.

It will certainly be interesting to see how all this shakes out. The new poll finds that consumers (a whopping 90%) are paying more than $50 a month for a traditional cable bundle, which helps put into perspective why they’re certainly not willing to add much more on top of that in terms of what they pay for streamers. Or, if we’re talking about cord-cutters here, they would seem to not want to ditch their current cable plan only to pay close to that same price for all their streaming choices.

Worryingly for some of the streaming choices, the poll also finds that only around 30% of consumers have even heard of the upcoming offerings from Disney and Apple, so there’s certainly more work to do on that front.

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