The popularity of Netflix has skyrocketed over the past few years, to the point that it has become a staple of daily life for college students, elementary schoolers, various media nerds, and proper adults alike. With instant streaming of beloved classics like Doctor Who and Firefly, as well as innovative, intriguing original content (Orange is The New Black, anyone?) right alongside one another, Netflix has created a unique and accessible form of media consumption that is really changing the game. It makes sense, then, that people might get a little panicky about the possibility of Netflix becoming less accessible.
On Monday, after Netflix customers complained about slow connections to Verizon’s FiOS service, Verizon’s chief executive said that Netflix would need to pay the telecom company for faster speeds. That same day, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel was quoted as saying, “we’re in discussions with Netflix to establish a more direct connection between our networks, similar to agreements we have with others, so that AT&T broadband customers who use Netflix can enjoy an even better video experience.” Discussions with telecom companies gained broader conversational space on Sunday, when Netflix agreed to pay Comcast Corp for faster speeds, so as to better satisfy their customers.
This lead to talk of Netflix prices rising, which understandably upset some folks. After all, one of the big appeals that Netflix has going for it is that it is friendly with almost any budget; $7.99 a month for unlimited access to thousands of television programs and movies is a pretty awesome deal, especially when it can be played through laptops and gaming consoles as well as televisions.
There’s probably no need to worry, though, as Dan Rayburn, an analyst with Frost Sullivan, says that Netflix’s new deal with Comcast (where in Netflix will pay for direct access to Comcast’s broadband network) will ultimately save Netflix money, meaning that prices likely won’t be rising for customers, or at least not significantly. Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, speculates that Netflix might raise its ,monthly fee by one or two dollars, but that these changes will likely be driven by a variety of factors, not just the comcast deal.
So, Netflix addicts can sleep soundly, knowing that their access to instant streaming of their favorite shows and films won’t be taken from them, at least not anytime soon.