Netflix has announced that they will start to cancel inactive customer subscriptions. If a person has not used their account in over a year, the streaming platform will automatically cancel the account. However, the company states that it will reach out to these customers first via email to make sure they would like to cancel. If they don't hear back, they will stop charging the account for the monthly service fee. Some people just enjoy paying for things and never using them, but Netflix is trying to put a stop to it.
It's unclear why the streaming giant has chosen to make this announcement at this time. "At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they're not using," the company said. While it does seem like an unusual move, it also points out the confidence that the streaming platform has in their following. According to the company, only a few hundred thousand "zombie accounts" are out there, which makes up less than 1% of their business. As of the end of March, they have over 182 million subscribers.
Netflix subscribers who end up having their subscription cancelled will have 11 months to return and keep their favorites and watchlists. "In the meantime, we hope this new approach saves people some hard earned cash," Eddy Wu, director of Product Innovation at Netflix, said in a statement. The move seems to be customer-based, though it's unclear how the streaming platform will benefit from this. If they were truly doing it for people who never use the service, 3 to 6 months seems like a more viable way to save people money than a year or more.
For now, it looks like Netflix is trying to earn some goodwill due to the world's current state of affairs. As unemployment continues, people have been relying more and more on the streaming platform. In the first quarter of 2020, new subscriptions skyrocketed to 15.8 million, though the company does not expect that boom to continue in the long run. For now, cancelling inactive accounts will more than likely serve as brand building as everyone starts to figure out how to move forward when we get back to some form of normalcy. People are already starting to leave their homes more and more.
Netflix has been ramping up their original content over the past few years and paying a lot of money for it. While the service has gained a number of new users, it's unclear how long those users will stick with the program. For the last few months, Netflix has been something that a lot of people have depended on, along with other streaming services, and it will continue to do so, though it will be interesting to see what their records look like at the end of 2021. Yahoo Finance was one of the first to report on Netflix cancelling unused accounts.