[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]
Netflix under criticism for free-riding on South Korean networks while profiting big with Korean contents including global smash Squid Game is pushing up subscription prices in Korea for the first time in nearly six years since its entry into the market.
The global streaming giant maintained that the rate hike is not related to the controversy over free-riding on local networks.
The monthly price for the standard plan would go up to 13,500 won ($11.45) from 12,000 won and premium plan to 17,000 won from 14,500 won, up for 12.5 percent and 17.2 percent respectively, for new subscribers. The basic plan will be offered at the same price of 9,500 won per month.
The standard package allows two simultaneous streams and premium package offers four simultaneous streams.
The U.S. streamer said it was bumping up rate policy to increase investments for high-quality original Korean shows. Netflix has adjusted its pricing policy in other countries as well. It raised its subscription cost for the standard plan by 7.7 percent and premium 12.5 percent in the U.S. in October last year, and 12.5 percent for the basic and standard packages in Japan in February.
Netflix dismissed the allegations that the price increase is related to the controversy about free- riding on local networks. The company has been in a legal battle with SK Broadband, the internet service provider under SK Telecom, over the network usage fee.
Dean Garfield, vice president of Netflix, said earlier this month that he is well aware of the controversy but the issue has nothing to do with its pricing policy, and the rate raise would be the first after keeping the rates unchanged for more than five years since its entry into the market.
By Woo Soo-min and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]