The end of the Netflix trial

Muslim Taseer discusses the end of the free Netflix trial, and what it might mean for audiences.

Muslim Taseer
14th November 2020
Earlier this month, Netflix confirmed the termination of its 30-day free trial promotional offer in the United States.

No doubt this marks the beginning of the end for the 30 day free trial as a marketing tactic in its entirety, at least in the steaming service arena. Netflix will soon cancel it around the world, and other streaming services will follow suit, as they will no longer have to offer it to stay competitive.

Netflix has grown exponentially, and the trial has helped it along the way.

The importance of the 30 day free trial in how rapidly Netflix grew this past decade can not be understated. Early on, Netflix was unfamiliar to most, and letting costumers try it before they bought it helped people realize just how much more convenient it was, kickstarting the word-of-mouth marketing that got Netflix where it is today. Netflix has grown exponentially, and the trial has helped it along the way.

Now, in times of global lockdown, it is fully entering it's prime. More than ever, people are staying home and streaming online video. The market is swelling and Netflix is standing strong, with Amazon Prime doing it's level best to catch up. Netflix has become a titan of the industry with its own productions and an almost iron-clad monopoly on online streaming. It's burst in and disrupted traditional cinema, much to the chagrin of everyone from the Academy to Directors.

Even though some may downplay the importance of the free trial, it could be indicative of a shift in the company's demeanour.

For years, Netflix has 'tolerated' the free use of its product, but this move could indicate a shift. Who knows what lies ahead? Essentially, this closes off one of only two ways to get Netflix without paying for it. Gone are the days of setting up multiple burner emails to repeatedly get free Netflix trials every month. Now, you've got to either have someone like you enough to share their Netflix password with you. (Or you could steal it, but what fine publication would condone that?)

Could Netflix in the near future decide it doesn't like people sharing accounts, and locks accounts to devices? Even though some may downplay the importance of the free trial, it could be indicative of a shift in the company's demeanour. Maybe the introduction of new competitors such as Disney Plus has forced Netflix's hand?

Netflix has become home to many award-winning original films
Image: IMDB

Setting speculation aside, Netflix has apparently been experimenting with other forms of trial-based marketing, however, with a new website where you can watch a small selection of Netflix originals with no membership. It's better than nothing, but nevertheless remains a far cry from an appropriate replacement for a whole month's worth of free use of the entire service.

Netflix probably wasn't hurting from that missed revenue from the free product they were giving away, but it seems corporate greed leaves no penny unpinched. Gone are the days of free Netflix. I am certain they will be missed.

Featured Image: Netflix

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AUTHOR: Muslim Taseer
Comment Sub-Editor and Co-Founder of The Toon Lampoon. Writer of witty satire and other drivel about culture. Technically the Courier's only war-time correspondent. I also make music under the moniker "sickhoop"

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