West News Wire: In the most recent move to maintain its recently restored subscriber growth amid fiercer competition and inflation pressures that are pressuring more consumers to curtail their discretionary spending, Netflix is lowering its prices in a number of its smaller markets.
More than 30 of the roughly 190 countries where Netflix’s streaming service is available are affected by the lower prices that started to roll out earlier this week; this breadth has allowed the business to draw in almost 231 million subscribers. Middle Eastern markets in Yemen, Jordan, Libya, and Iran are among those experiencing decreased costs, along with markets in Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
Netflix isn’t changing its prices in any of its largest markets, including the U.S., where it has been regularly increasing its rates during the past four years to help offset the cost of an programming lineup that includes popular series such as “The Crown” and “Stranger Things.”
Although Netflix has established itself as the largest video streaming service, it has been vying for viewers with other deep-pocketed rivals that include Apple, Amazon and Walt Disney Co. at the same time stubbornly high inflation is causing more people to tighten their budgets.
Those factors contributed to Netflix losing nearly 1.2 million subscribers during the first half of last year, prompting the company to introduce an ad-supported option of its service t hat cost just $7 per month in the U.S. less than half the price of its most popular plan. That helped Netflix bounce back during the second half of last year when it added 10 million subscribers, a recovery that made its long-time CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings comfortable enough to step down last month.
In another attempt to gain more subscribers, Netflix has started to crack down on rampant password sharing that has enabled an estimated 100 million people worldwide to free load on its service. Netflix has already clamped down on the practice in Latin America and several other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain earlier this month. New rules governing the use of the same password in multiple households are expected to be imposed in the U.S. by the end of March.