Why Netflix Doesn’t Need Hangers On

I think Netflix just might be ok. I mean I know that Wall Street freaked out when Netflix cut millions of Russian subscribers out of their total and somehow reflected a subscriber loss, but this year has seen a number of hit shows emerge around the world.  Now it looks like their movie business is going to carry the water for a while. After only three days, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery was the #1 film around the world and with 35M household views (82.1M view hours divided by 2.3 hours of runtime) from over 93 countries, everyone was trying to solve the mystery and figure out whodunit. Glass Onion is the sequel to Knives Out, which was a film with a traditional theater run, but the sequel is a Netflix exclusive featuring a who’s who of Hollywood heavyweights.

Netflix is an enigma in the streaming world. It seems like everyone you know thinks that there is nothing good to watch on it, yet they keep saying “Have you seen …..” I had to keep Netflix so I could binge it but I’m gonna drop it soon. Netflix is the most popular streaming service in the world right now, the most popular streaming service in the US, and it is making money. It’s leagues ahead of any and every service when it comes to offering original content and some of its initiatives are in their infancy. The ad-supported tier may not have started strong, but it’s a long-term project. If anybody expected that millions of people who were used to watching Netflix with no commercials would just switch to an ad-supported version they don’t have a good grasp on the way normal people think. If Netflix really cracks down on password sharing during 2023 we will see if all of those people who said they would not pay for it if they were knocked off friends and family accounts were telling the truth. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But you know what. It will not affect how much money Netflix makes. Because they were not paying in the first place. Could there be a more empty threat. If you don’t give this to me for free you will lose me as a customer. If I were Netflix I would tell them to take a long walk off a short pier.

Boohoo. The freeloaders are going to stop freeloading. If investors can’t understand that losing useless customers isn’t addition by subtraction then I guess they will jump off Netflix right before it takes off like never before. Can you imagine a restaurant being concerned that someone who was eating off a buffet for free and not tipping wait staff said “I’m never coming here again”. No, they would say who let you in in the first place? The difference is that Netflix held the door open for a long time. It used the strategy to become a household name and mold a generation of fans. My guess is that in the US, ads are never going to be popular on the service. But in international markets where it doesn’t have major penetration already, it will be a big winner.