Thousands of users are calling on Netflix to bring SpongeBob SquarePants to its catalog, regardless of the cost. These users want to make their voices heard at Netflix, and let the company know which shows its paying customers are yearning for. Considering some of the other licensing agreements the company has made, this is not the biggest request possible.
SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most beloved cartoons of our time, and in many ways, it defined a whole generation's taste in comedy. It makes sense, then, that that generation would call on its favorite streaming service to get the show however possible.
Fans have been begging Netflix to license SpongeBob for years, but these days, the call is more desperate than ever. A new petition is circulating on Change.org, picking up tens of thousands of signatures in a matter of months. At the time of this writing, more than 29,300 people have signed, and the numbers are rising by the minute.
This particular petition was written by a user named Drew Hovestadt and addressed to Netflix and its CEO, Reed Hastings. Hovestadt calls SpongeBob "the best television show ever created" and notes that it would be a huge acquisition for "everyone who grew up" watching the show.
Many thousands of people agree, and the petition is really starting to pick up steam. It is not the first, however, and previous attempts have failed. Change.org and similar sites are filled with cries to make SpongeBob binge-watchable for everyone, yet Netflix has never answered the call.
Users called for it when SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away earlier this year, and when Netflix paid a massive licensing fee to keep Friends in its catalogue. Neither occasion was enough to sway the company, although none of those previous petitions have hit the numbers that Hovestadt has.
Of course, there are many critics of online campaigns like this. Commenters chimed in saying that Netflix does not take petitions like this into account, but instead follows the bottom line wherever it takes them. This is why die-hard fans have been trying to organize the #CancelNetflix movement on social media, demanding that the company reconsider its cancellation process with the power of the almighty dollar.
Other critics note that there are plenty of other ways to watch SpongeBob SquarePants. In fact, the entire series is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. The first five seasons are included with an Amazon Prime membership, and the others can be bought, rented or watched with an add-on channel called NickHits. After a 7-day trial, NickHits costs $7.99 per month.
SpongeBob episodes can also be rented or purchased on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. It is also available on the Nick app, which allows cable subscribers to log in and watch the entire series on a mobile device. From there, many devices allow the video to be projected onto a larger screen with an Apple TV, a Chromecast or something similar.
If all of that fails, of course, there are DVDs as well. With the changing landscape of streaming, more and more people are falling back on locally stored media, ensuring that they will never lose access to their favorite shows. This method can also be a boon to the environment, as last December, the BBC reported that streaming produces a huge amount of emissions. Environmentally conscious fans may want to consider stocking SpongeBob in their hard drive or their DVD player instead.