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Netflix Canada hikes prices as streaming competition heats up

It’s the first price increase in nearly two years for the company, but it only affects users in Canada.

Mike Blake/REUTERS

Watching your favourite shows on Netflix Canada just got a little more expensive.

The popular video streaming service is hiking prices for new members effective immediately. It will do the same for existing users after notifying them by e-mail in the coming weeks.

Netflix's standard plan will now cost a dollar more – or $10.99 a month – to watch content on two screens at a time.

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The basic plan, which does not offer high definition video and only permits one streaming screen at a time, also goes up a dollar to $8.99 a month.

Premium plan subscribers will pay $2 more for up to four simultaneous streams and ultra high-definition 4K content. It will now cost $13.99 monthly.

It's the first price increase in nearly two years that affects subscribers in Canada.

Netflix says it made the decision in an effort to bolster its content and services. The price change only impacts Canadian subscribers.

"From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features and improve the overall Netflix experience, to help members find something great to watch even faster," it said in a statement.

Netflix has invested heavily in producing its own original content in recent years, including "House of Cards," "Ozark" and a slate of feature films bought at international film festivals.

The company also faces a growing number of other competitors who are seeking the Canadian rights for buzzworthy TV series and movies, and potentially driving up the acquisition costs.

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CraveTV, which is owned by Bell Media, holds the rights to Showtime TV shows and some content from U.S. streaming site Hulu, while Amazon Prime Video acquired streaming licences for "Mr. Robot" and Starz cable series "American Gods."

Netflix purchases the Canadian rights to U.S. network shows as well, including ABC's "Scandal" and the CW's "Riverdale."

But earlier this week CBS Corp. announced plans to dive into the Canadian marketplace with its CBS All Access streaming service early next year. At once it'll be vying to attract its own subscribers, while also competing for streaming rights and valuable library content.

Netflix generally raises its prices by country based on the local market. In June, the company bumped up the monthly bill for Australian users by a few dollars, saying it was responding to a local tax increase.

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