A petition asking to make Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and other streaming media services free is gaining traction on change.org, with over 60,000 signatures at the time of writing.
The person who started the petition, Philip Kolas, argues that streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO should stop charging membership fees and per-movie rental fees for 60 days to encourage people to stay home during the quarantine. He says that streaming services help to alleviate boredom, but that many people can’t afford the membership fees:
If people can watch as much as they want, whenever they want, this will help alleviate the stress of home isolation, as well as encourage people to stay home. This is a responsible community health strategy… I call upon every one of these companies that can help make an involuntary homestay more comfortable and therefore more successful to do their part to lift our sorrows and stresses of the quarantine.
Membership fees haven’t prevented Netflix from seeing a massive increase in demand for its services since the lockdown began. People have nothing better to do than watch series and movies. The company added nearly 16 million new users worldwide in the first three months of the year–almost double the registrations from the fourth quarter.
Netflix’s shares have soared recently, making the company now worth more than Disney (NYSE:DIS)
Why would Netflix stop charging fees if it’s able to attract millions of subscribers with its current prices? Netflix, like other streaming services, is not a charity–it’s a business. They aren’t responsible for people’s mental health and are not an essential service.
Netflix is very cheap–it costs only $8.99 per month for the basic plan. And you can watch Netflix all day if you want, it won’t cost you more. Millennials are buying iPhones for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, so they can probably find $8.99 somewhere. Young Americans are too spoiled; they should be thankful for what they have.
It’s not because we are in lockdown that everything has to be free. Businesses must continue to run. We don’t ask grocery stores to give us food, so why would we ask streaming services to let us binge-watch series for free? That makes no sense.
If Netflix offers two months free, users will only save a few dollars–but Netflix will lose millions. Netflix and other companies have to generate revenue to be able to stay open and continue paying their employees.
None of the streaming services targeted by the petition have answered so far. It’s unlikely that Netflix will give 60 days of free service because of a request. If it does, then whenever we want something free, we could just start a petition.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com. The author holds no investment position in the assets mentioned above.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.