Avoiding commercials on the Crave streaming service is about to get a little costlier.
Bell Media has told Crave subscribers who use its "premium ad-free" package that they'll now have to pay $22 per month — an increase of $2.01.
The change affects only the most expensive subscription tier that gives viewers commercial-free access to a library of on-demand programming, as well as feeds of Crave's live TV channels.
A representative for Bell Media says users of Crave's "standard with ads" subscription will continue to pay $14.99. Its "basic with ads" plan will stay at $9.99 a month.
The price hike means Crave's highest tier of service now ranks as more expensive than Netflix's top level, which costs $20.99 per month.
All of the major streaming TV platforms have recently raised prices as they seek ways to squeeze more revenue out of their subscribers.
Some have implemented crackdowns on password sharing between households, in a bid to increase subscribers. Most have introduced ad-supported packages for viewers willing to sit through commercial breaks in exchange for paying a bit less.
Last year, Crave followed the lead of Netflix and Disney Plus, who both launched "opt-in" ad tiers that required subscribers to choose to downgrade.
Amazon's Prime Video will take a different approach next month in Canada when it adds commercials to programming for all customers, with an "opt-out" option for viewers who want to escape the ads.
Some industry analysts predict an influx of discounted streaming bundles in the United States will lead to a similar trend in Canada over the coming year as companies try to retain customers who feel they're paying too much for too many services.
On Thursday, telecommunications company Telus introduced Stream Plus, a two-level package its customers can sign up for that combines Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video at a discounted rate.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2024.
David Friend, The Canadian Press