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Crave subscribers will need to pay $2 more monthly to avoid ads – National

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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.

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All of the major streaming TV platforms have recently raised prices as they seek ways to squeeze more revenue out of their subscribers.

Click to play video: 'Free ad-supported streaming services launch in Canada'

Free ad-supported streaming services launch in Canada

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.

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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.

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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.

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