Netflix is planning to hit subscribers with a price hike once actors are off the picket lines, while Disney+ appears ready to chase revenue with a live sports tier, according to a Tuesday report in the Wall Street Journal.
The hikes will likely be announced after the SAG-AFTRA strike ends. Talks between the studios and actors were expected to continue Wednesday, after the Writers Guild of America and the studios settled their walkout last week.
The report did not say what the predicted increase will be, but it helped boost Netflix shares despite the broader markets sinking.
Netflix shares added $3.09, less than 1%, to $383.42 in morning trading while the major indexes all sagged. The stock is off its annual high of $485 reached in July, but remains up about 34% since the start of the year.
The news defies comments from Netflix CFO Spencer Newmann, who said in July that the company was focused on its paid sharing rollout — the crackdown on users who freely shared passwords with friends and family — which he called the company’s “primary revenue accelerator in the year.”
“Most of our revenue growth this year is from growth in volume from new paid memberships, and that’s largely driven by our new paid rollout,” Neumann said.
Netflix declined to comment on the report.
But “streamflation” has already hit Netflix’s top competitors.
Since October 2022, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Max, Paramount+ and Peacock have all raised their prices. Disney+ and Hulu’s second increase in under a year will hit Oct. 12, with their ad-free versions rising to $13.99 and $17.99 per month.
Netflix, which last raised prices in early 2022, stopped offering its $9.99 per month ad-free basic tier in the U.S. and U.K. in July, pushing its cheapest ad-free option to $15.49 per month.
Another tactic for increasing revenue is offering new services like live sports, which is under discussion at Disney+, The Journal reported. Disney already offers ESPN+ in a bundle with Hulu and Disney+ and offers ESPN+ as a standalone service.
“We regularly discuss many options as it relates to the business, but it’s definitely premature to say this is happening,” a Disney representative told TheWrap Tuesday.
Warner Bros. Discovery announced last month that its streamer Max is launching a “Bleacher Report” tier with live sports from the MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA, plus U.S. soccer and golf. The service will be free for five months and cost $9.99 a month starting March 1.
Disney shares slid with the broader market, giving up $1.33, or 1.7% to $80.34. The stock is down about 15% since the start of the year.
Additional reporting by Lucas Manfredi.