Is Netflix About To Lose The Streaming Wars?
At the moment, Netflix is still the largest streaming service, that goes without saying. According to Statista, there were 221.64 million paid subscribers to Netflix during the first quarter of 2022.
This puts them ahead of Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, and the myriad of other streaming services that are popular with TV and movie binge-watchers today.
However, there is the potential for things to change. Netflix’s share price recently took a tumble after a net loss of 200,000 subscribers was announced. This was a surprise to many as, up until this year, the company had been experiencing a lot of growth.
So, why are people leaving Netflix? And more to the point, why aren’t new people signing up for the service?
Why Is Netflix Losing Subscribers?
Despite the loss of subscribers, Netflix is still a very good streaming service. New content is being added regularly and in some markets, it has more movies and TV shows than any other platform. They have a lot of original content too, much of which is very good, with the likes of Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Heartstopper proving extremely popular with many.
So, what’s going wrong? The finger of blame can be pointed at the following.
With the rising cost of living, many of us are now being forced to make cutbacks. As part of these, we need to consider the various services we subscribe to. If they are costing us too much or if we can’t justify keeping hold of them, it makes sense to cancel them.
As such, Netflix could be one of the services that we say goodbye to. As they have recently increased their subscription prices, there is an extra incentive to let them go. Netflix themselves have stated rising prices as the reason for disappearing subscribers which is why they are considering an ad-supported option. This will cost less than their regular service although the downside will, of course, be a lot of pesky adverts to disrupt our binge-watching.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that nothing has been set in stone, the exact phrasing regarding ads was “never say never” and it’s more an idea at this point that a clear sign of where Netflix is going.
Netflix cancel a lot of shows. That’s no secret. They’re also making more content than anyone else in the game, so naturally there’s going to be a lot of shows that don’t see the time of day. That’s a shame too, because fans that get invested in certain shows and characters find it unceremoniously dumped without an ending.
With the exception of Sense8, almost every show that’s been cancelled has done so without a conclusive ending and that leaves a huge graveyard of unfinished projects in Netflix’s roster. While you could argue that networks like Fox have been doing this for years (thanks again for cancelling Prodigal Son guys), Netflix are a far more prominent example given how many people subscribe – and how many people see these shows cancelled.
Why sign up to Netflix when you can simply use somebody else’s account? It’s by far the cheapest way to watch Stranger Things, Midnight Mass, and all of Netflix’s other top shows.
Netflix are not happy with password sharing, of course. It means they get fewer new subscribers every year. For this reason, they have started to charge customers in some parts of the world a small fee if they share their accounts with people outside of their households. It’s worth bering in mind that the trial is taking part in Chile ($2.98 a month), Costa Rica ($2.99 a month) and Peru ($2.12 a month)
On the one hand, this is better than Netflix banning customers for breaching their terms and conditions. But on the other hand, it makes it harder for people to manage financially.
Of course, the answer to this one is easy – stop sharing your passwords with others! Let your friends and family members make their own Netflix accounts. Alternatively, ask them to contribute to the price you have to pay if they do want access to your account. Of course, Netflix would rather you did the former as it would net them more subscribers.
The number of streaming services
On top of Netflix, we now have Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Peacock, Disney+ and many other streaming services, depending on your particular region. Each platform provides its own set of movies and shows, some of which exclusive to their particular service.
More content is a good thing as we now have more choices of what to watch. However, beyond the free trials we can sometimes benefit from, we also have to pay for this extra content. Therefore, we have to consider our finances and our viewing tastes. If Disney+, for example, is showing more of what we want to watch, such as the latest Marvel or Star Wars show, then it might make sense to cut Netflix (and other services) and focus on Disney’s offerings for a set period of time.
Thankfully, the world is just about getting back to normal again after the recent pandemic but COVID can be blamed for the loss of those subscribers who weren’t able to keep their Netflix subscriptions going.
Then there are the lockdown restrictions which put a halt on several major Netflix projects, such as the fourth season of Stranger Things. Chances are, Netflix lost subscribers because the shows people wanted to see were delayed.
Don’t get us wrong. Netflix does have a lot of excellent content. However, when it comes to some of their original content, there is a lot of bad. From the multitude of terrible Adam Sandler ‘comedies’ that Netflix stumped up the cash for to the plethora of shows that received low ratings, it’s clear that not everything Netflix touches turns to gold.
Of course, the same can be said of every streaming service so bad content isn’t exclusive to Netflix. But with the streaming giant’s rising prices, can we justify paying more for content that might turn out to be well below par? Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad – for the moment at least – but Netflix needs to make a concerted effort to improve quality if it is to hold onto subscribers.
Will Netflix Lose The Streaming Wars?
It’s hard to say but the chances of Netflix falling below their competition at this stage are slim. Yes, they have lost a lot of subscribers during recent months but they are still outranking their rivals. Prime Video is threatening to overtake them as they have around 200 million subscribers but if Netflix can claw back old customers and claim new subscribers, they should be able to stay ahead.
Disney+ has around 120 million subscribers and is currently seeing a lot of growth so this streaming service could pose a risk in the future. The same applies to HBO Max. This service ended March with around 76.8 million global subscribers and they are also experiencing a lot of growth. Could they better Netflix? Not at the moment but if they continue to grow, who knows?
The competition is rife but this is a good thing. It might be bad for our pockets but it encourages Netflix to keep on its toes. If they can produce more great content to justify their subscription prices, they might start to experience more growth again. They might also gain more subscribers if they freeze further price hikes, keep hold of content for longer, and resist the urge to cancel shows that people are desperate to see more of.
Netflix has long been the king of streaming and if it can improve its portfolio, it might stay at the top for longer. But with Amazon Prime and Disney+ snapping at its heels like two persistent canines wanting to get a bite of their profits, now is the time to fight back before more subscribers decide to quit their service.