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Netflix Hikes Prices For Long-Term Subscribers Amid Border-Hopping Crackdown

You can still keep your $7.99 plan, you just won't be able to watch in HD.

Many longtime North American Netflix subscribers will be faced with a price hike or a service reduction next month, part of a change to the price structure the company announced years ago.

And if Canadian Netflix subscribers are anything like their American cousins, most don’t know the change is coming.

Netflix raised the price for its HD service for new subscribers to $8.99 from $7.99 in 2014, and raised it again to $9.99 last year. But it “grandfathered” older subscribers, allowing them to retain their $7.99-a-month plan. As of next month, that ends.

Netflix told CBC News subscribers will be offered a choice: Keep your existing HD service at an increased price of $9.99 a month, or keep your existing $7.99-a-month plan, but for an SD service that can be accessed on only one device at a time.

According to analysts at UBS, the change will affect 37 per cent of Netflix subscribers in the U.S. And according to JPMorgan's research, 80 per cent of affected users don’t know the change is coming.

Not the only bad news for Canadian Netflix users

The price hike comes as many Canadian Netflix users find themselves suddenly unable to border-hop to watch the streaming service’s U.S. selection. Netflix launched a crackdown on border-hopping earlier this year, and it appears to be having an effect.

Until recently, border-hoppers were able to use a VPN or SmartDNS service to trick Netflix into thinking they were in the U.S. Many of these service have become ineffective in recent months.

In Canada, Netflix is also facing pressure from two deep-pocketed competitors, Bell and Rogers, who launched CraveTV and Shomi, respectively, to compete with the streaming service.

With streaming options growing seemingly by the day, Canadians are cord-cutting faster than ever before. A new study from Convergence Consulting estimates more than one-quarter of Canadian households will have neither cable nor satellite TV by the end of this year, up from around 21 per cent two years ago.

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