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A Foolish Take: Netflix's Pricing Power Hits a Wall

Leo Sun, The Motley Fool

Netflix's (NASDAQ: NFLX) stock recently tumbled after its global subscribers rose just 2.7 million to 151.56 million in the second quarter, missing its guidance for 5 million new subscribers. Subscribers in its core U.S. market declined by 130,000 to 60.1 million.

Netflix attributed that soft growth to price hikes. A recent survey from Kill the Cable Bill, which polled 1,004 U.S. Netflix subscribers, supports that notion, with nearly a quarter of respondents claiming that the service was too expensive.

Chart showing how survey respondents feel about the price of Netflix

Data source: Kill the Cable Bill. Chart by author.

Netflix introduced price tiers for its streaming service in 2014, with its basic, standard, and premium plans priced between $8 and $12 per month. Today, those plans cost between $9 and $16 per month.

Netflix raised prices to offset its higher production costs for original content, but those numbers suggest that it's hitting a ceiling. Meanwhile, major media companies are pulling their content from Netflix to launch their own streaming platforms, with Disney+, which will cost $6.99 per month, looming large on the horizon.

A Piper Jaffray survey recently found that 73% of Netflix users won't subscribe to Disney+, but the streaming pioneer's growth slowdown and loss of pricing power suggest that it's hitting a wall.

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Leo Sun owns shares of DIS. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and DIS. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on DIS and short October 2019 $125 calls on DIS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.