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The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

Netflix in need of fix

Streaming service betrays consumers by canceling fan favorites, increasing prices, releasing poor entertainment
Eliza Jensen
Netflix’s subscription prices have drastically increased, while the quality of its content has simultaneously gone down. Additionally, new updates to the streaming service intended to prevent issues such as account sharing has made the app less enjoyable and less flexible for consumers to use.

Everyone knows Netflix. When you think of a popular streaming service Netflix probably immediately comes to mind. It pioneered the move from cable television to streaming and garnered a quick consumer base who wanted to escape the overwhelming amount of ads that filled their screens. The creators of Netflix knew they had something successful. They already had a subscription service renting out movies to subscribers by sending them DVDs. As it grew and survived the 2000s against its biggest competitor, Blockbuster, it branched into Video on Demand and launched its streaming service in 2007.

After Netflix switched to streaming, Blockbuster wasn’t Netflix’s only big competition. They were up against well-financed companies like Amazon, Apple TV and cable TV providers. Streaming was a whole new level of competition; nevertheless, Netflix dominated the field. They negotiated with Hollywood studios and created a massive library of popular movies and TV shows that everyone was dying to see. Subscribers could log in and watch any episode they wanted to from their favorite TV shows, like The Office, and wouldn’t have to wait for it to return on cable. Netflix’s large catalog was an immediate draw for new subscribers and showed that Netflix was the new guy in town and ready to take over the market.

Streaming was a whole new level of competition, nevertheless, Netflix dominated the field.

While Netflix dominated the streaming industry and had only a few big competitors, nowadays, Netflix is up against swarms of other streaming service providers. As the shift to streaming became more popular, more and more big companies who used to license began creating their own streaming services to cash in on the growing streaming market and consumers’ attention. Netflix is no longer the only chef in the kitchen. Streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and Max are taking over the market and creating their own large catalog for consumers to enjoy. It’s no longer about how much you have on your service; to consumers it’s all about the quality of the shows and whether they’re good enough to justify the expense of the subscription. 

Most consumers don’t have the luxury of spending a ridiculous amount of money on one streaming service while also juggling multiple other subscriptions to competing services. In 2022, Netflix increased its prices to $15.49 on its standard plan and closed off access to its $9.99 basic ad-free plan, and just a year later it’s raising its prices again. For the premium four-screen plan, subscribers will have to pay a staggering $22.99/month, while the new basic plan with ads remains the same at $6.99/month. However, the price hikes don’t end there. To add another screen to your account you have to pay an extra $7.99/month, so larger families who don’t want to watch ads will have to pay way more for every member of the family to enjoy their favorite shows and movies. While the Netflix price increases are a problem for consumers, another issue plagues Netflix—password sharing and freeloading.

This creates a looming problem for families and many questions that Netflix has failed to answer.

Netflix first began rolling out its new password-sharing plan in the U.S. in May of 2023. This included a short delay after the company observed an increase in cancellations during its international testing. According to Netflix’s Help Center, “a Netflix account is meant to be shared by people who live together in one household” meaning that anyone using someone else’s account, like their friends or relatives, will be kicked off and forced to pay for their own account. This creates a looming problem for families and many questions that Netflix has failed to answer. 

For several years, Netflix has been axing its Netflix Originals left and right. This jettisoning of original content became more apparent during the pandemic when renewals were up in the air. Tons of fan-favorite shows like The Society and I Am Not Okay With This were left unfinished and on massive cliffhangers. It made sense during the pandemic as it was unsafe to film and more effective to cancel the show rather than wait for the pandemic to end, but post-pandemic it’s a different story. TV shows now have a new level of success to reach in order to be considered for a second season—a level that seems impossible to reach for an average TV show. Fans and consumers have become frustrated as shows that they invested in and that dominated the streaming charts have gotten canceled seemingly for no reason, other than their completion rate, while controversial (and arguably poorly written) shows like Emily in Paris and The Witcher continue to pump out season after season. 

Netflix has made it clear that it doesn’t care about what is released and what is thrown away.

Netflix has made it clear that it doesn’t care about what is released and what is thrown away, which was made clear with the cancellation of Lockwood & co., a TV-14 adventure drama centered around three kids in a ghost-hunting agency fighting spirits and supernatural entities around London. It amassed a large audience and very positive reviews from fans and critics, but nevertheless, it was canceled. Many fans of the source material and fans who fell in love with the show were disappointed and angry that a show that had seemingly been a smashing success could be canceled so soon. For a long time, upset fans have created petitions to bring back popular canceled shows, like Anne with an E, Warrior Nun, and Lockwood and co., but their cries fell on deaf ears and nothing ever changed.

Over the years, Netflix has continually damaged its relationship with its subscribers, with substantial price increases, password-sharing plans and show cancellations. As other streaming services have gathered their own unique catalog, people have begun to weigh their options and are moving away from Netflix. Netflix is no longer the top dog, and it shows. Other streaming services are releasing show-stopping series and movies leaving Netflix in the dust struggling to keep up. With so many choices for streaming services, consumers are forced to pick which one is worth their money and Netflix has repeatedly shown that consumers can’t trust them.

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