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While we’d imagine that most people are getting full use of their Netflix subscription right now, the service still appears to be concerned about a backlog of inactive user accounts. The streaming platform, which has been one of the few entertainment companies to perform well during the coronavirus lockdown, have now announced that they’ll cancel inactive accounts where someone might be still paying for but not using their subscription.
Under the new policy, Netflix will contact users who haven’t shown any activity in the past year or more, to tell them that their account will be deactivated. Of course, users have the option to confirm that they still want to keep their subscription, but those that say no, or don’t respond, will lose their accounts.
In a Netflix blog post from product innovation director Eddy Wu, the following explanation was given for the new approach:
“You know that sinking feeling when you realize you signed up for something but haven’t used it in ages? At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they’re not using. So 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.”
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Although this move seems quite altruistic on Netflix’s part, it could be a way of tidying up their subscriber numbers and giving more accurate reports to their shareholders. Cutting down their subscriber list could also free up server storage space, although it appears that inactive accounts only represent less than half of one percent of their subscribers, which works out to a couple of hundred thousand users.
Moreover, Netflix could have legal reasons for checking in on their subscribers, especially in a scenario where someone has forgotten they’re still paying for it every month. Given the number of streaming subscriptions the average person has right now, this scenario may actually not be farfetched, although it’s hard to imagine an individual not finding anything to watch on Netflix for a whole year.
Anyone that might get annoyed about losing their Netflix account without realizing can always reactivate it, but they’ll need to do so within 10 months to retain their watchlists and other data. For people that are still happily using their accounts, there’s plenty of new material being added to Netflix every week, including some underrated choices, while a large collection of new content is coming our way in June.