SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is raising the price of its Internet video service by $1 for new customers in the U.S., Canada and some Latin America countries to help cover its escalating costs for shows such as “House of Cards” and other original programming.
The new price of $10 per month for Netflix’s standard plan — its most popular — marks the second time in 17 months that Los Gatos, California, company has boosted its U.S. rates by $1. The trend reflects the financial pressure that Netflix is facing as it competes against Amazon.com, HBO and other services for the rights to TV series and movies that will expand its audience.
Netflix’s 42 million existing U.S. subscribers are being insulated from the price bump. That’s a move CEO Reed Hastings is taking in an effort to avoid a repeat of the customer backlash that stung the company four years ago when it raised rates by as much as 60 percent for subscribers who wanted Internet video and DVD-by-mail rentals.
The abrupt price increase in 2011 triggered an exodus that cost Netflix more than 800,000 subscribers and caused its stock to lose 80 percent of its value in a tumultuous 13-month period.
The experience taught Netflix to reward its existing subscribers as higher prices are phased in on new customers.
Subscribers who have been with Netflix since May 2014 will still pay $8 per month under a two-year rate freeze adopted when the company last raised its U.S. prices by $1. Customers who signed up since the last price increase will pay $9 per month until October 2016.
Netflix’s audience continued to expand after last year’s price increase, a pattern that investors appear confident that will be occur again with the latest uptick in rates. Netflix’s stock surged $6.83, or 6.8 percent, to $114.93 Thursday.
Wall Street has been hoping Netflix would increase its prices because its profit margins have been shrinking as the company’s expenses climb for programming and an aggressive international expansion.
Netflix Inc.’s programming costs are expected to rise from $3 billion this year to $5 billion next year. The research firm Ampere Analysis predicts Netflix will be paying $6 billion annually for its line-up by 2018.
Some of that money is being spent on previously released TV series and movies, but Netflix is pouring more money for shows that can only be found on its service — a formula that has been highly successful for HBO’s pay-TV channel.
The strategy has paid off for Netflix too as its U.S. customer base has swelled by about 70 percent from 25 million subscribers since the 2013 debut of “House of Cards,” the service’s first major splash in original programming. Netflix now features dozens of exclusive programs.
Netflix’s higher price might help Amazon’s rival Internet video service, which is sold with a bundle of other features that includes free shipping from Amazon’s online store for $99 annually, or $8.25 per month.
Some analysts, though, view Netflix’s biggest competition as HBO, which sells an Internet-only version of its channel for $15 per month.
HBO’s price may give Netflix leeway to raise its prices even further, according to Per Sjofors, CEO of consulting firm Atenga. His analysis of customer sentiment concluded Netflix could charge as much as $13 per month for its standard Internet plan without hurting its growth.
Netflix’s standard plan allows subscribers to stream video on as many as two different devices simultaneously and watch programs in high definition. A basic plan available to new customers for $8 per month limits watching to just one screen, with no high-definition option.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man arrested in connection with an online video showing someone flash a gun while filming a Los Angeles police officer has been released after posting bail.
LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado said Thursday that 35-year-old Alex Izquierdo was arrested Wednesday in the LA suburb of Hawthorne.
Though Police Chief Charlie Beck had said the department was negotiating with Izquierdo’s attorney to turn himself in, Preciado says Izquierdo did not surrender. Izquierdo is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 29.
Police initially thought the video was a threat, but an investigation revealed it was made by a 1990s rap group looking for a comeback.
The attorney for two LAPD officers who shot and killed a man Saturday told The Los Angeles Times that the lawmen thought they were under attack because of the video.
Dancing Our Way to Mars
Pascal Lee and I decided to have a little Devon Island dance off!
Getting Around “Mars on Earth”
Pascal Lee says future Mars explorers may use something similar to an ATV to get around and do research on the Red Planet. I decided to take this one for a spin in a space suit.
Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 1
I arrived at Devon Island today with a small crew including Pascal, Kira, Brian, and Karen. We spent most of the day setting up camp and getting ready for upcoming research. We were lucky to get in because a fog came sweeping through after we arrived. It was creepy and looked like something out of a scary movie. You can actually see some of the fog and just how mysterious it looks in this video clip.
Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 2
Today I traveled on ATV with Brian and Karen as they conducted research on this Martian like landscape. During a short mission like this there is no running water at camp so my daily task was to collect fresh water from this spring and bring back about 20 gallons to camp each day.
Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 3
Today is the day we originally were supposed to make our way back home….but….no flights are available for a couple days. I guess we will rough it and do more research here with our extra time. I am still getting used to not having heat in this freezing environment. Also, the sun doesn’t set this far north in the August so I am still adjusting to 24 hours of daylight! It’s better than 24 hours of total darkness! I am also really getting to spend a lot of time with the crew and getting to hear some pretty in depth science talks….some of it goes right over my head. Hey…I am a news reporter not a scientist! They are great people and really make the trip a lot of fun!
Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 4
It is always fun pretending you’re a real astronaut especially when you are on Mars on Earth! Today I got to try on an early version of space suit. It wasn’t the most comfortable but it looked pretty cool!
Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 5
After 5 days on this cold, windy, barren landscape we finally receive word over satellite phone that our plane is coming tomorrow. We break down camp and prepare for our departure the next day. It is pretty warm here today compared to most days.
I am thankful to have this experience and to have shared this time with my four new friends. See you soon!
BEIRUT (AP) — Video footage obtained by The Associated Press shows the main structure of 2,000- year-old iconic Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra has been destroyed. Activists have said that Islamic State extremists, who are in control of the ancient city, blew up the arch.
The footage, which surfaced Wednesday, shows one pole of the arch still standing, but most of the arch — which stands at the top of a colonnaded street that runs through Palmyra — is in ruins. Activists said the militants blew up the arch on Monday.
It’s the last among Palmyra’s relics to be destroyed by IS since the group overran the city in May. IS destroyed the Temple of Bel and the smaller Baalshamin temple in August. It considers such relics to be promoting idolatry.
A former antiquities official in Syria said the Islamic State is “systematically destroying the main features of the site of Palmyra” and lamented the inability of the international community to prevent the devastation.
“The destruction of the Arch comes with a long string of other destructions that Palmyra has suffered from in the last couple of months, beginning with the Temple of Baalshamin and then the Temple of Bel itself and three of the Funerary Towers and the Necropolis,” Amr al-Azm told the AP.
“And we even hear rumors that they might be preparing to blow up the actual Amphitheatre and its associated Agora nearby,” he said, adding that such destructions were “atrocities.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A primary suspect has been arrested in connection with an online video that shows someone flash a gun while filming a Los Angeles police officer in what later turned out to be a publicity stunt.
LAPD Officer Matthew Ludwig says the man was arrested Wednesday, but he had no other details, including the suspect’s name.
Though police at first thought the video was a threat, an investigation later revealed it was made by a 1990s rap group looking to ignite a comeback.
Police learned of the video last week and believe it was taken in early September.
The attorney for two LAPD officers who shot and killed a man on Saturday tells The Los Angeles Times that the lawmen thought they were under attack because of the video.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Video from a Georgia jail shows an inmate struggling in a confrontation with two ex-jailers and a health care worker, being hit with a stun gun and then restrained before his death.
Multiple news outlets report the video was played for jurors Wednesday during the trial of the three former jail employees. They are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 21-year-old Mathew Ajibade.
Ajibade was found dead strapped to a restraint chair at the Savannah jail hours after his arrest on a domestic violence charge Jan. 1
The video shows Ajibade was struck in the face twice. But a former lieutenant who was the night commander that day told jurors the action was justified.
A state medical examiner said several factors could have contributed to Ajibade’s death.