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For the first quarter of 2023, Netflix has revealed that they have 232 million subscribers to the market-leading streaming service. That’s an increase of 8 million subscriptions after posting 223 million for the end of 2022.
Earlier in 2022, doomsayers were warning that Netflix’s subscriber base was in free fall. Now they have record subscribers, with a controversial policy threatening that growth. So, what happened? Let’s find out with this small timeline.
2020: 30-Day Free Trials Expire Forever
Netflix used to employ all the safe but effective ways of marketing themselves. Then came 2020, the end of the 30-day free trial that every online business copied back in the day.
The likes of Amazon, Uber Eats, and online casino providers still offer different types of trials and incentives that allow people to use their services for free or with a price reduction. For instance, some promotions available at online casino sites offer one free spin each day for an opportunity to get various bonus rewards. It’s just good business to get people through the door.
Naturally, there were complaints, and Netflix’s subscriber growth would fall slightly before resuming its climb. However, the intervening years were marked by controversy, which didn’t help as competitors started eating up market share.
2022: Basics With Ads Is Added
Following a few quarters of bleeding subscribers and worrying investors, Netflix launched Basics With Ads. This was a paid subscription tier that gave access to 720p streaming for a reduced price, for the inconvenience of the occasional 15 or 30-second commercial. For context, their standard plan was about $15 without ads but with ads, $6.99 a month.
As subscribers got used to that, Netflix has sweetened the deal, recently announcing an upgrade to 1080p. This announcement came after posting their 2023 subscriber gain and proving that Netflix isn’t down for the count just yet.
2023: Netflix Teases Password Sharing… Again
In 2021, whisperings started that Netflix planned to crack down on password sharing. This soon came true and remains so to this day in countries like Canada and Spain. However, they have held off pulling the trigger for their core Western audiences in the US and UK.
This new crackdown policy lingered over their heads throughout the 2022 subscriber bleeds and, while subscription is back up, it still lingers today. After repeatedly pushing this policy back, they announced last month that it’s coming, leading to a very passionate response from audiences. Then they made another announcement clarifying their sharing policies in response to criticism.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>We know there’s been a lot of confusion about sharing Netflix. <br><br>A Netflix account is intended for one household, so we’re rolling out new features in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain (and more broadly in the coming months) to give you more control over your account…</p>— Netflix (@netflix) <a href=”https://twitter.com/netflix/status/1623396371872243712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 8, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
One of the service’s CEOs, Greg Peters, has said “there will be current members that are unhappy.” Predictably, there were cancellations in Canada and Spain following its rollout but we can only speculate what a mass exodus of American subscribers would look like.
If that hit is coming, Netflix needs to do what they do best and find new, magnetic shows that pull people in. Considering they found their second most-popular show ever just last year, there’s every chance that they can take the hit and keep growing.