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Creeping price points: A look at the rising cost of Canada’s streaming TV services

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Streaming TV isn’t getting any cheaper.

After it was once heralded as the cost-effective alternative to cable, the price of Canada’s streaming services is inching higher every year.

And the story was no different in 2023 when inflation, production costs and efforts to turn a profit led many of the biggest names in the business to rework their subscription packages and jack up their rates.

Here’s a look at recent changes in the monthly price of the top streaming services:   

Netflix

What changed: The company behind “Stranger Things” and “The Night Agent” phased out its $9.99 “basic” plan for new subscribers, eliminating its cheapest option without ads and pushing some viewers to either pay more or sit through commercials.

With commercials: $5.99 Without commercials: $16.49 Commercial-free 4K resolution: $20.99  

Disney Plus

What changed: In addition to a new ad-supported tier, the home of “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises split its existing 4K high-definition (HD) ad-free tier into two options — one of which is a downgrade on video quality. There are now separate HD and 4K tiers without commercials, both of which now cost more.

With commercials: $7.99  Without commercials: $11.99 (Up from $8.99)  Commercial-free 4K resolution: $14.99 (Up from $11.99)  

Crave

What changed: Bell Media’s streaming platform for Hollywood movies, Canadian projects and HBO programming shook up its subscription options by introducing two ad-supported tiers while holding steady on the price of its 4K ad-free option.

HD with commercials: $9.99  4K with commercials: $14.99 Commercial-free 4K resolution: $19.99  

Prime Video

What changed: Amazon announced Prime Video is splitting into ad-supported and ad-free tiers starting in 2024. Viewers who want to watch hits such as “The Lord of the Rings” and “Reacher” series without ads will pay a premium price, which hasn’t been announced in Canada but equals an additional $3 in the United States. Prime Video is part of the retailer’s main Prime membership that includes shipping perks.

With commercials: $9.99  Without commercials: To be announced. (Up from $9.99)  

Paramount Plus

What changed: After raising its price before the holidays last year, Paramount Plus spent much of 2023 bolstering its library. New additions from its many banners include an array of TV series from Showtime and MTV, as well as the “Yellowstone” and “Star Trek” universes. Next year, it will split subscriptions into ad-supported and ad-free options.

With commercials: To be announced.  Without commercials: $9.99  

Apple TV Plus

What changed: The technology company’s foray into prestige series, including star-studded “The Morning Show” and “Slow Horses,” rolled out a price increase in the fall.

Without commercials: $12.99 (Up from $8.99)  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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The Canadian Press is Canada’s independent national news agency that informs Canadians, providing depth, breadth and perspective with regional, national and international news 24/7/365.

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