Anyone who is not logging into Netflix lately might be in for an unpleasant surprise — and not just over the loss of Cheers. The streaming giant has announced it will begin to send out notices to members not using their accounts for more than a year after signing up if they'd like to stay members. Those who haven't streamed anything in two years will get a similar message, and if customers don't respond, Netflix will cancel their accounts.
Netflix director of product innovation Eddy Wu addressed the change in a company blog post, via The Chicago Tribune. According to Wu, the accounts in question only make up about 0.5 percent of total accounts — or as he puts it "a few hundred thousand" subscribers. However, they will still keep user's favorites, profiles, viewing preferences and account details on file for 10 months in the case anyone wants to re-subscribe or catch up on programming, like the now cultural phenomenon of Tiger King. As far as the motivation behind the decision though, Wu attributed it to goodwill.
"We hope this new approach saves people some hard-earned cash," Wu wrote. The reminder could also bring people back to the platform, which would obviously boost its overall audience. It's already had a solid start to 2020, with 15.8 million new subscribers added in the first quarter of the year. However, the company's CEO, Reed Hastings, has readily attributed the bump to the quarantine and doesn't expect it to last.
As far as the pandemic goes, Netflix has joined a number of networks and studios who have been forced to temporarily close down productions in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. In March, the stream set up a $100 million fund to help the cast and crews who have lost out on work as a result, which was aiming to help "the hardest-hit workers on our own productions around the world."
"We're in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production," the company wrote in a statement. "This is in addition to the two weeks' pay we've already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week. What's happening is unprecedented. We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time."