Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Netflix will start automatically shutting down inactive accounts

Illustration for article titled Netflix will start automatically shutting down inactive accounts
Photo: Netflix (Getty Images)

With so many streaming services fighting for your attention these days (and even more on the horizon), it can be easy to forget about one or two. For example, remember Netflix? The wizened elder statesman of streaming that’s been distributing content over the internet since way back in 2007? Well, if you’re a Netflix subscriber and you did somehow forget about it, the service might already be preparing to disable your account. According to Variety, Netflix has started sending out notices to people who haven’t streamed anything in 12 months, asking them if they want to continue being a subscriber. If these people don’t respond, then Netflix will automatically cancel their subscription but retain their preferences and other account details for a period of 10 months. After that, if you still haven’t resubscribed, your history as a Netflix subscriber will be erased and it will gradually fade from memory like… the long-forgotten Netflix werewolf show Hemlock Grove.

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This is an interesting move for Netflix, since the alternative is literally free money, but Variety says the streaming service is doing this to generate goodwill. The idea, apparently, is that customers will recognize that Netflix is a nice company if it makes a point to let everyone know that it’s not trying to screw people over, which may not verge far enough into “nice” but is at least reasonably separate from “evil.” Variety also says the kind of inactive accounts that Netflix is talking about here account for “less than 0.5 percent” of its total subscriber base, so it’s technically not even missing out on that much free money. Also, reminding someone that they haven’t used their Netflix account in a year may inspire them to start using it again, which would require them to continue subscribing, which would then get Netflix more money. So maybe it’s actually closer to “neutral” than “nice.”

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