The Maddening Brand Spin of the Netflix Price Hike

Julio Vincent Gambuto
4 min readMar 11, 2022
Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

Wow, kudos to the comms team at Netflix for the A+ flat-out BS on “why” they are raising prices. This morning, consumers were treated to a simple email from the streamer about “why” the price will climb to $15.49 per month in April. The subject line promises a “why.” The strategy behind the email is clearly to make sure consumers understand the “why” so that they don’t unsubscribe. Surely there was an oppressive series of corporate communications meetings at Netflix (Zoom meeting at 1pm!) to nail the language here before the email went out. The reason they landed on: “to bring you more entertainment” and “to deliver more value…”

Here’s the problem. There is no mention of the real reasons. There is no mention of rising television and film production costs across the industry/world, nor mention of Reason #1: wanting to make more money to respond to investor pressure re: their falling stock price. Were their intentions purer, they may have mentioned wanting to pay people more to better honor film craftspeople — from assistants to directors and producers — in light of recent Hollywood union negotiations and strike threats, or even mentioned a new commitment to paying more for independent films. (I’m a filmmaker, so that one is a sore spot for me and my colleagues.) You can’t expect them to say any of that? Nope. Apparently, they want to deliver more. And make more. This is about their stock price.

In response to that investor pressure, instead of re-evaluating C-suite salaries and/or cost-cutting internally and/or excising wasteful spending on some rather dubious (uh, crap) content, instead of a deep look inside the studio, they are simply hiking the price for consumers. And they’re hiking it at a time when consumers are dealing with ongoing stress from the financial fallout of the pandemic, $6/gallon gas prices ($7.75 in Los Angeles), and unprecedented inflation due to mass corporate greed. Yep. Let’s stop blaming Biden for inflation and Russia for gas price hikes. How about brands return less to investors right now while the world recovers from the greatest economic disaster of our lifetime?

Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author of “Please Unsubscribe, Thanks!” // Now available in US and UK //