Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Observer

Netflix’s plan to lose subscribers

Netflix, in a startling move, recently released their new strict account sharing rules on its help center page, just to retract them and state that the whole thing was an accident. But don’t stop holding your breath just yet! Netflix’s plan is still to start enforcing these new rules in the United States sometime in the first quarter of this year. But the question remains: how in the world do the powers that be at Netflix think that this is a good idea?

Let us recap the rules themselves. Going forward, Netflix’s account-sharing will be only for members of the same household, and it considers someone a part of a household if they are connected to the home Wi-Fi. If you can’t access the home Wi-Fi once every 31 days, then you are not a part of the household. So, sorry, college kids, but that will be an additional $2.99 for your ability to watch. And for travel? You can get an access code for seven days of unblocked access, but after that, no dice.

This is a bold money-grabbing move from Netflix that I’m sure will be quickly adopted by other streaming services if it proves successful. But I do not think that Netflix is the best platform to be unveiling unpopular rules that test the loyalty of its subscribers. Netflix’s power to keep its subscribers comes from the quality of shows that it releases. But, off the top of my head, the only big shows from Netflix that I can name are “Stranger Things” and “Wednesday.” And with “Stranger Things” ending soon, I cannot imagine that “Wednesday” has enough power to keep people from canceling their subscription. This is not to mention the shows Netflix has lost to its competitors (think “Friends” and literally anything Disney), or the popular shows that it decided to cancel for no known reason (think “Sense8”). 

Once the new rules go into place, it does not make economic sense to me to keep that Netflix subscription when you can get more out of a subscription to one of its competitors. You can watch anything on Disney+ and Hulu for just $9.99. That is only one cent more than Netflix’s most basic plan ($6.99) with one additional screen (which is $2.99 based off of the price in Costa Rica). It’s just math, and the math is not on Netflix’s side. 

Ostensibly, the crackdown will help Netflix get more money for its production of TV shows and movies. That rationale, though, seems hollow, when one remembers that each episode of season four of “Stranger Things” had a $30 million budget. At the end of the day, nothing about Netflix’s plan seems smart. It reeks of a cash grab from people who only care about getting as much money as possible for their own gain, and I, for one, am not planning to let them use my money to line their pockets.