Even with the market flooding with new streaming services, a majority of Netflix subscribers would stick with the streaming giant if they increased their prices, according to a survey by Cowen & Co. analysts, led by John Blackledge and published in Variety. The use that customers are getting out of the service during the global pandemic appears to be a factor in the results, as a December 2019 poll by the same firm saw 47% tell the survey that they would stand by the streamer amid a price hike. By May 2020, it was 55%, an 8% increase over a fairly short period.
These kinds of surveys may be key to the industry's response to the coronavirus pandemic, as increased demand on in-home entertainment is another factor in a streaming landscape that is already in constant flux. The launch of Disney+, for instance, was already part of the polling models in December 2019 and May 2020, but by the fall, Peacock and HBO Max will have made their presence known in the marketplace, too.
Heavier users, identified as Netflix consumers who stream more than 7 hours per week of Netflix content, also saw their commitment to the brand rise by roughly the same amount over the six-month period, rising from 52% to 60%.
"With COVID-19 taking hold this year, we aren't surprised that [Netflix] would gain pricing power as it becomes a more essential entertainment service, and our survey data supports this thesis," the analysts at Cowen & Co. wrote.
The platform raised prices in early 2019, but is not expected to do so again this year. Still, especially if these numbers hold steady or continue to rise, it seems likely that Netflix will feel comfortable with their next price hike, in spite of the inevitable social media explosion that such a shift usually generates. In 2019, while there were plenty of people threatening to boycott and Netflix briefly took a hit, the year-end numbers saw that the ends justified the means, with a 28% revenue increase year over year (and a 20% increasae in overall subscriptions), according to the Variety article.
Earlier this week, YouTube TV announced that they would increase the pricing of their base package by nearly 1/3, going from $49.99 to $64.99 beginning in August.