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Spotify will soon increase its prices in more markets
by Rajesh Pandey
Netflix is not the only streaming service that is going to get expensive for U.S. subscribers. Spotify's CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek commented during the company's Q3 2020 earnings call that it is planning to increase its subscription prices as the service has matured in many markets and delivering far greater value to subscribers with "enhanced content."
Spotify started as a music-streaming service but the company has been investing heavily in podcasts in recent quarters. The service currently has 1.9 million podcasts and it released 58 original shows and podcasts in the previous quarter.
“I believe an increase in value per hour is the most reliable signal we have in determining when we are able to use price as a lever to grow our business,” Daniel Ek said.
Spotify has tested its increased prices with selected customers in some markets and as per Ek, the initial results have been positive which will allow the company to "further expand price increases." Spotify has tested increasing the Family Plan pricing in Australia from AUS $17.99 to AUS $18.99 for new subscribers starting October 1. Alongside its Q3 earnings, Spotify also announced a price increase for its Family Plan in Belgium, Switzerland, Bolivia, Ecuador, and other markets.
The comment comes after Spotify published its Q3 2020 earnings in which it recorded 144 million paying customers, with a total active user base of 320 million users beating market expectations. However, Spotify's earnings were short of market expectations as the company reported a loss of 101 million euros. The firm is looking to further fuel its growth by launching in more markets based on its success in countries like India and Russia, with the latter being its "most successful new market launch."
By Namerah S
Netflix increases prices for standard and premium subscriptions in the U.S.
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
It has been about two years since Los Gatos-based streaming company Netflix last increased the prices of its monthly subscriptions in the U.S. In January 2019, the cost of the basic plan rose from $7.99 to $8.99, the HD standard plan hiked up to $12.99 from $10.99, and the 4K premium plan went up to $15.99 from $13.99.
Seeing as how the last-to-last price hike also took place roughly two years before 2019, it doesn't come as a surprise to know that Netflix has increased its U.S. prices yet again. Today the streaming service changed the costs of its standard and premium tiers. The base plan which costs $8.99 per month remains unchanged.
As of today, new members will have to pay $13.99 in place of $12.99 per month for the standard HD subscription. Meanwhile, the premium membership which allows users to stream in 4K now costs two dollars more, rising from $15.99 to $17.99 monthly.
The U.S. market isn't the only one to face a hike in prices recently. At the beginning of this month, Netflix raised the prices of some of its subscription plans in Canada as well. Canadians had to start paying CA$14.99 instead of CA$13.99 for the standard plan and CA$18.99 instead of CA$16.99 for the premium one.
Ubisoft partners with Netflix for Assassin's Creed live-action and animated adaptations
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The Assassin's Creed franchise is moving beyond the gaming space again, with Ubisoft and Netflix today announcing a partnership that sees the popular series receiving multiple shows in the future. The deal includes plans for live-action, animated, and anime projects that will land on Netflix.
The live-action series will feature Ubisoft Film & Television’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik as executive producers. It may be a while away from materializing though, as a showrunner is still being found.
"For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the Assassin’s Creed brand into an iconic franchise," said the head of Ubisoft Film & Television - Los Angeles, Jason Altman. "We’re thrilled to create an Assassin’s Creed series with Netflix, and we look forward to developing the next saga in the Assassin’s Creed universe."
Assassin's Creed has previously seen departures from the gaming space before, with the Michael Fassbender starring movie landing in 2016, though it featured an original story. It's not known yet whether the Netflix adaptations will tell new stories within the universe that fit in with the games or go another route.
Ubisoft is currently preparing to launch its latest Assassin's Creed entry, Valhalla, which is slated to land next month across PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Stadia.
Apple TV, Disney+, and more to be available on the PlayStation 5 at launch
by João Carrasqueira
Sony is slowly revealing more information about the upcoming PlayStation 5 console. After introducing us to the console's internals in a teardown video and revealing the console's software experience, the company today announced the media apps that will be available on the PlayStation 5 when it launches next month.
As shown in the UI video last week, media apps will reside in a dedicated Media tab on the PlayStation 5's home screen, and you won't need to download them from the PlayStation Store, which will focus on games. At launch, the PlayStation 5 will already support quite a few major streaming services - Apple TV (including Apple TV+), Disney+, and Netflix, Spotify, Twitch, and YouTube. Post-launch, more apps will also make their way to the console, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, and more.
In addition to the media apps, Sony also announced that a Media Remote will be launched alongside the PlayStation 5, aiming to make it easier to control playback on these services. You can also use the Control Center interface revealed last week to control music playback while you're doing something else.
Since the Xbox Series X and S are based on the same software experience already on the Xbox One family, all the services available there should also be available on those consoles at launch. While Apple TV isn't officially available yet, Microsoft and Apple are already testing the service with select users, so it could be set to launch soon.
Netflix 'StreamFest' event will let you stream content for free for 48 hours
by Rajesh Pandey
Netflix stopped offering free trials for new subscribers in the United States earlier this month. In a bid to get new users on board, the company is now planning to hold a 48-hour free streaming event. It first plans to test this free streaming option in India before deciding if it will bring it to other countries or not.
Mishaal Rahman first found references for a promotional event called StreamFest in the Netflix Android app that's scheduled for December 4. The event was then also confirmed by Netflix COO Greg Peters at the company's Q3 2020 earnings call. Peters said:
The text string related to the event points to Netflix allowing new users to stream content for free from any platform for 48 hours starting December 4 without having to enter their card details. After that time is up though, users will have to pay for a Netflix subscription to continue further.
The code string does point to Netflix restricting access to StreamFest to a limited audience as there are snippets saying "Netflix StreamFest is at capacity." The company, later on, confirmed the event to Protocol as well and said "We're always looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience."