Looks Like Netflix Customer Lied About Cancelling

Two years ago, when industry types began talking about a Netflix password-sharing crackdown we started seeing various survey results saying that customers who use other’s passwords would not get their own accounts if they lost access to someone elses. For instance a little over a year ago, results from a survey by reviews.org showed that 1 out of 4 Netflix users said would cancel or consider canceling the service if it either raised prices or stopped allowing users to share passwords. An even more dire survey response from Forbes Home said that 35% of Netflix subscribers would cancel if prices went up or if there was a crackdown on password sharing.

Well here we are. Prices have gone up, and Netflix has started cracking down on password sharing. And the last quarter’s results reflect a major change for Netflix. It gained 6 million subscribers. Looking at a chart by justwatch.com you can see that not only did Netflix gain subscribers it did so while other lost them or remained essentially static.  So users did not cancel Netflix nor did they jump to say MAX or Apple TV+ in response. That people overstate their intentions on surveys is nothing new. Similar surveys have been done over the last 10 years with results that would

If 35 percent of Netflix customers canceled last quarter Netflix must have gained even more than 6 million new subscribers.

have had us writing the obituary for the pay-TV industry a dozen times over. I can’t explain why, but I know this to be a fact. People huff and puff about what they are going to do when it comes to how they spend money. Have you ever seen that guy from the office finally tell off the manager about whatever pissed him off the other day? If the change requires a little bit of effort like say, looking up the password for a service or going to a website or contactig a credit card company they won’t follow through with their threats.

For example. In a totally anecdotal sense before cable replacement services came along a number of people I know with cable TV long complained about the cost and the selection they got for it. So I started saying, “what if you could get ESPN and HBO without the big cable bill would you do it?” They would always respond “hell yeah, sign me up!” So when Sling TV came along offering ESPN among 25-30 other cable channels for 25 dollars and HBO Now (now known as MAX) launched I checked back with my belly-aching friends. They still had cable. They had no interest in jumping into something new. Obviously those people in my example don’t represent the entire country. Since 2010, Cable subscriptions have absolutely gone down from about 88% of the country to 66%. Yet according to this study from 2022 by now, fewer than half of American households would have cable by now. This is the difference between people saying “I would consider” and people actually doing anything other than exactly what they always do every day.

In the content business, which every publisher including The Streaming Advisor participates in, you have to put something out there. But it is obvious that the results of surveys do not predict the future well. Because you have to factor in human nature and our comfort level with routine. You also have to factor in what I call the water cooler effect. That when folks sit around the water cooler/break room/coffee machine and complain and make threats about things, they are just performing for their peers. I don’t know why they perform, but they do. I guess it makes them feel good about themselves at the moment. Sort of like the guy who says he would play football with a broken foot in response to a highly-paid NFL star missing action because of an injury. That same slob would not stand up to get the remote or another slice of pizza with a torn ACL, but would try to have you believe that he would make his body do the near impossible if given the chance.

So, good for Netflix. It looked the toxic Internet in the face and said, “If you do not want to pay to watch our content, then don’t”. 6 million subs later it appeared that they were on the right path. But so help me, if Amazon raises prices on Prime by 1 dollar I am going to cancel it and give up the convenience of getting good deals on every item in the world and getting it shipped to my porch the next day for no additional cost. Instead, I’ll drive to the mall or a crowded big box store with poor service just to spite them. They will know my wrath! Oh cool The Boys is coming back soon. I guess I’ll keep it a little longer. Then they will know my wrath!