All good things come to an end. It seems 2020 has claimed yet another victim, this time in streaming. Netflix officially ended its free trial period.
The free trial period had previously been a hallmark of the platform. Viewers could create an account with Netflix and stream content without paying a subscription fee for the first 30 days. But the days of getting a free month-long binge are now over.
“Free trials are not available,” the company’s website confirms, “but you can still sign up and take advantage of all Netflix has to offer. There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments. You have the freedom to change your plan or cancel online at any time if you decide Netflix isn’t for you.”
However, some content can still be viewed on Netflix without a subscription. In August, the streamer launched a “watch free” section. From the free portal, people can watch a select number of Netflix original films and TV pilots. Current selections include the feature films Bird Box with Sandra Bullock and Murder Mystery with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. You can also watch the first episodes of series like Stranger Things and Grace & Frankie.
Is This The Future For Streaming?
Evidently, the limited free section combined with the elimination of the 30-day free trial marks a new strategy for Netflix. Streaming platforms have struggled for a while now to find the balance between attracting customers and making money. How do you keep people around who sign up for a free trial to watch one specific show when it drops? How do you keep people from getting a free trial and then using new information to sign up for another (and another…and another…)? Apparently, Netflix decided eliminating the free trial period completely was the best solution.
Netflix has always been an industry leader when it comes to streaming. Personally, I expect other platforms will soon follow a similar model. Eliminating the extended free trial option while making a few select originals free to sample seems like the most profitable solution from a corporate standpoint. But will consumers go for the new model? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
What do you think about Netflix’s big move to eliminate free trials? Let us know in the comments.