Netflix will start cancelling inactive members’ subscriptions

In this photo illustration, the Netflix logo appears on a smartphone. (Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | Getty Images

Netflix will start asking customers who have not used its platform in the past year if they want to keep their subscriptions, the company announcement Thursday. If a customer does not respond, Netflix will automatically cancel the subscription.

This move is extremely unusual among companies that charge an annual subscription and shows some confidence in the Netflix value proposition for customers. It can also help Netflix stand out in the face of an influx of new competitors, including Disney +, NBCUniversal’s Peacock (which has a free ad-supported level), and the upcoming WarnerMedia HBO Max.

“We ask anyone who hasn’t watched anything on Netflix for a year since joining to confirm that they want to keep their membership. And we will do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years,” Eddy Wu , director of product innovation, said in a statement.

Inactive customers will begin to see the functionality roll out via in-app notifications or emails this week.

Netflix said its inactive accounts represent less than half a percent of its overall member base and are already factored into its financial directions. The company has seen a huge increase in the number of subscribers in the last quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic has kept many at home. Netflix reported 183 million subscribers tot the end of the first quarter.

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