Netflix quietly tests price hikes in Australia

The company has been testing how much Australians "value" its streaming service.

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Claire Reilly/CNET

Would you pay more to get your Netflix fix?

A price hike could well be in the works with the streaming giant quietly testing out changes to the cost of plans in Australia.

The Australian reports that Netflix has tested upping Australian prices by as much as AU$3 over weekends, increasing its Basic plan from AU$8.99 to AU$9.99 a month, its Standard plan from AU$11.99 to AU$13.99 a month, and its Premium plan from AU$14.99 to AU$17.99 a month.

Netflix confirmed that it has tested price changes, but was quick to emphasise that it has not made any announcement to change prices, either locally or globally.

In a statement to CNET, a Netflix spokesperson said the company continuously tested new things for various lengths of time, and in this case the company was "testing slightly different price points to better understand how consumers value Netflix."

However, in an updated statement, Netflix denied original reports in The Australian that testing was specifically targeted to users accessing the service on the weekend.

"Reports that we are testing 'weekend-only' pricing are inaccurate and entirely false," a company spokesperson told CNET. "This testing varies in length and time and the fact that some members saw this test on a weekend is completely unrelated. This test is limited to Australia only."

Regardless of the tests, Australians could well be up for a Netflix price increase within a matter of weeks.

The federal government is set to extend Australia's 10 percent goods and services tax to "intangible supplies" (such as digital content, games and software), effecting online streaming companies such as Netflix.

The change -- which has been widely dubbed the "Netflix Tax," including by the Australian government itself -- comes into force on July 1. Netflix has not commented on whether it plans to pass the 10 percent tax onto customers.

"We collect and remit tax wherever we are legally obligated to do so," the company said.

First published May 15, 1:59 p.m. AEST.

Update, May 17 at 11:15 a.m.: Includes additional statement from Netflix.

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