Friday, May 22, 2020

Netflix joins the cancel culture: Video streamer will now automatically delete inactive accounts if you haven’t used it in a year

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has joined the cancel culture so to speak: The global video streamer will now automatically cancel subscribers' accounts who haven't used it for a year and who haven't actually watched anything for 12 months.

Netflix announced the fascinating development in its latest company blog post, saying it has started to automatically cancel people's Netflix subscriptions if they haven't been used.

It will be interesting to see whether other video streamers like MultiChoice's Showmax, Apple TV+, VIU, Amazon Prime Video, Vodacom Video Play or any of the other subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) start to follow Netflix's lead in this regard.

"We’re asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership. And we’ll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years," says Eddie Wu, Netflix's director of product innovation.

"Members will start seeing these emails or in-app notifications this week. If they don’t confirm that they want to keep subscribing, we’ll automatically cancel their subscription."

Netflix says that if a person changes their mind, they can restart Netflix.

These dormant accounts form part of less than 0.5% of Netflix's total subscriber base globally - a few hundreds thousand accounts.

Netflix says losing the money from these inactive accounts have already been factored into its financial guidance.

So why is Netflix doing this? The streamer likely wants to buy some general goodwill from its entire customer base with some who might feel pressure on their discretionary budget spend during the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"We've always thought it should be easy to sign up and to cancel. So, as always, anyone who cancels their account and then rejoins within 10 months will still have their favourites, profiles, viewing preferences and account details just as they left them. In the meantime, we hope this new approach saves people some hard-earned cash," says Eddie Wu.