Netflix price changes are always controversial. But luckily, it looks like the streaming company’s latest strategy for getting more money out of users won’t affect most of us (for now).
The streaming giant confirmed to CNET that it has been testing out a new tier for its pricing models for select users in Europe: a €16.99 per month “Ultra” subscription plan, which would provide exclusive access to HDR (high dynamic range) content.
“We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time,” Netflix spokeswoman Smita Saran told CNET. “In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix.”
The pricing tiers previously offered by Netflix focused on allowing users to stream on multiple screens at once. The $7.99 Basic plan allows streaming on only one screen, the $10.99 Standard allows two, and the $13.99 Premium offers four.
Right now, there are reports of a few different versions of the new pricing model. One would offer the Ultra without affecting the already established plans. But Phonearena.com and are seeing some promotional materials that reduce the number of screens for Premium from four to two, and Standard to only one screen.
Netflix’s statement was clear in stating that these Ultra pricing tests are just that — a test, instead of a permanent model for all users. “Not all Netflix subscribers will see the test and the company may not ever offer the specific price points or features being tested,” Saran said.
The variations in the test pricing models suggests that Netflix is right now trying gauge how valuable the HDR feature is to current users.
But you might still be wondering what the HDR feature offered in Ultra even means.
While still a relatively new and pricey improvement to TV image quality, HDR can be seen as to the difference between standard and high definition. And like the evolution of HD, many are predicting HDR will one day inevitably become as ubiquitous as HD.
Right now, though, HDR is mostly seen as a costly and inessential new feature reserved for those who can afford to become early adopters. As Endgadet proposes, this marks a shift in Netflix’s strategy for getting more money out of its existing 125 million existing users. Rather than just charge everyone a little more, it appears to instead be targeting affluent users for this extra feature.
But then again, this could set a precedent for a future where HDR is considered the standard image quality for all TVs.