Feature: Why is Netflix Losing Subscribers?

Not a story that has been covered on this website, but it has now been widely reported that Netflix is struggling to maintain is subscriber numbers. Netflix was one of the first subscription on-demand streaming services, and has enjoyed success over a number of years, but now finds itself in less calm waters.

Naturally, Netflix and other subscription services such as Amazon Prime saw a boost in subscribers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Large sections of the population, both in the UK and worldwide, found themselves with less work to do, and more time on their hands. With only so much DIY possible, entertainment from the comfort your own home became increasingly important, particularly with the severe restrictions in place in the early days of the pandemic. However, most of these restrictions are now being lifted, and streaming services are now less important.

However, the drop in subscriber numbers that Netflix is facing is not replicated across the industry as a whole (or at the very least based on the limited figures I have at my disposal). Therefore, there must be other factors in play, with two that stand out; competition, and the rising costs of essentials.

Naturally, the latter is starting to bite hard. Fuel prices have been increased by at least 50p often more, despite a 5p cut in fuel duty (tax). This in turn has forced food prices up. Not to mention increases in the costs of electricity and gas. All largely blamed on rising wholesale costs, albeit with little actual evidence of what has increased these wholesales costs. The rise in costs was already in motion before Russia invaded Ukraine, and whilst that hasn’t helped matters, I don’t really buy into that excuse (although that subject is a debate in its own right).

Returning to Netflix and streaming services, with these being a luxury, they’re most likely to be cut from family budgets earlier. It would be plausible for those who subscribe to multiple services, to cut back to a fewer amount. Perhaps, this could be the one used most often, or one with another benefit (next day delivery on Amazon purchases with Amazon Prime for example). This may partially explain the drop in Netflix customers.

Competition is perhaps the bigger driving factor, with more services available than ever before. When once Netflix was in a handful of big fish, now several platforms compete for viewers attention. Recent arrivals include Britbox, Apple TV, Paramount Plus, soon to launch ITV X, and the popular Disney Plus, to name but a few. Not to mention the aforementioned Amazon Prime, and free services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, and My5. Many like to try new things, and that is a driving factor against Netflix.

It seems unlikely that Netflix will fade away, but it seems unlikely that it will continue to be the dominant force that it once was. It will be interesting to see future market shifts. Will the many small players survive, or will they thrive and further erode the Netflix market share? Only time will tell.

Netflix Removes Free Trial Offer

Netflix is no longer offering 30 day free trials, meaning customers wishing to try the service now need to pay.

No other aspects of the pricing structure have changed, and customers can still take advantage of Netflix’s offer, without contracts, cancellation fees, or commitments.

The move affects the UK and the US, although free trials are still available in other countries, including Austria, Croatia, and Cyprus.

Sky Q Gains Netflix in HDR

Netflix shows in HDR (high dymanic range) quality can now be found on Sky Q, joining a growing collection of HDR content.

HDR content includes some Sky Nature shows, alongside other Sky originals including Cobra and Save Me Too. Subscribers to Disney + have access to Disney content in HDR.

The Secret Garden is the first Sky Cinema original film to be made available in HDR. Live sport in HDR is also expected next year (2021).

Free Content Offer From Netflix

Netflix has made some of its original content available for free, without the need to sign-up for an account.

Available only via desktop, laptop, or Android web browsers, the content is preceded by a 30 second long skip-able advert.

Titles available include some episodes of series including Stranger Things, Elite, When They See Us, and Love Is Blind. Additionally, some movie titles are also available, including Bird Box and The Two Popes.

Netflix Sees New Subscriber Surge

Thanks to global lockdowns, Netflix has seen a surge in subscribers. In the three months to July, 10.1 million new subscribers joined the service. So far, there have been 26 million subscribers for 2020 as a whole.

Compared to 2019, Netflix saw 28 million new subscribers across the whole year. 2020 looks set to exceed this. However, the company has warned that new subscriptions will slow, particularly as lockdown restrictions ease.

Netflix is an on-demand streaming service, with shows including Tiger KingOzark, and Bank Heist proving popular during lockdown.