I Feel No Need to Pay for That
Finally Canceling My Netflix Subscription
As I'm sure you are all aware, NetflixOriginally started as a disc-by-mail service, Netflix has grown to be one of the largest media companies in the world (and one of the most valued internet companies as well). With a constant slate of new internet streaming-based programming that updates all the time, Netflix has redefined what it means to watch TV and films (as well as how to do it). recently put their their policy change that dictates that password sharing, long a habit they encouraged, is no longer tolerated. Users who had been leeching the Netflix subscription from a friend or family member were going to have to get their own accounts if they wanted to watch what Netflix had. And that's fair. Netflix can dictate their policies and if they say they want to limit accounts to one house (physical address) per account, they are welcome to do so. Their system, their rules.
Of course, what this means is that many people will suddenly find themselves unable to watch Netflix without paying for a new account. In some cases (as I've seen stories relayed Online), people who were using their account at home and while they traveled have found that they now have to pay for two accounts because it's per address, not per person, and the Netflix rules are very strict. You can get some wavers if you're on a vacation and want a temporary pass to watch where you're staying. But if, say, you work in one state and your significant other stays home in a different state, you will need two accounts. Thems the rules, folks.
Again, this is totally Netflix's choice to make. Everyone uses the service at the whims of the service provider, assuming a user wants to put up with it. And that, right there, is key: you have to want to tolerate it. I have to say that I wasn't willing to tolerate it, so I canceled my account. After subscribing to Netflix for over 12 years (starting with their disc-by-mail service and then switching to Online only once that was available), I am no longer a Netflix subscriber. Here's what did it for me.
For starters, I had a premium account. I got it primarily because it came with four "users" on it so you could pass access to whoever you wanted among those four. Want less people on your account, by a service with less users. It was baked in, right there, for sharing, and I made sure that each person I shared it with had their own user account. That way I stuck to the letter of the law at the time. I actually only ever ended up using three of my four (myself, my sister, and my friend) but I was happy with the arrangement. Plus, by paying for the upper tier service I was also getting 4K UHD streaming from the company an, occasionally, Netflix actually put out something that made watching in 4K worth it (like Stranger Things).
Over the years of paying for their top-tier account I watched my subscription fees go up and up. The account started at 14.99, but then quickly jumped two bucks. Then another two. By the time I finally killed it the service was up past 20 bucks a month, and the reason I was paying for that was so I could share it with the people I'd always shared it with. if I couldn't share my four accounts around, why was I paying 20 bucks a month? Again, most of what Netflix put out wasn't really pretty enough for the 4K bump, so if I couldn't share it around I didn't see the point to pay for top-tier viewing.
I could ave bumped down my account -- when I went to cancel, Netflix tried to get me to down grade to a basic HD package for $14.99, but even that hardly seemed worth it when I started thinking about what I was watching on Netflix. There was a time when I'd hit the streamer and, within a minute, I could find something worthwhile to watch -- an new release from a major studio, a fun old movie I hadn't seen in a while, some show that I'd always meant to catch up on. Netflix used to be a reliable home for whatever content I wanted. Of course, that has changed.
Everyone here is surely aware of just how many options we have for streaming content now. Amazon PrimeWhile Netflix might be the largest streaming seervice right now, other major contenders have come into the game. One of the biggest, and best funded, is Amazon Prime, the streaming-service add-on packing with free delivery and all kinds of other perks Amazon gives its members. And, with the backing of its corporate parent, this streaming service very well could become the market leader., Disney+Disney's answer in the streaming service game, Disney+ features the studio's (nearly) full back catalog, plus new movies and shows from the likes of the MCU and Star Wars., HBOThe oldest and longer-running cable subscription service, HBO provides entertainment in the force of licensed movies along with a huge slate of original programming, giving it the luster of the premiere cable service. (or whatever name it's going by this week), HuluOriginally created as a joint streaming service between the major U.S. broadcast networks, Hulu has grown to be a solid alternative to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, even as it learns harder on its collection of shows from Fox and FX since Disney purchased a majority stake in the service.. Hell, I wrote an entire article last year going over every major streamer I could find, and I didn't even scratch the surface of everything else that's out there. It's too much. Every studio has to have their own streamer. Every old cable channel is finding their own way to stream as well. And every one of those networks needs their content to stream on their service. Most of what used to make up Netflix's library is now gone, off to other homes.
In its place we have Netflix's Originals, along with a bunch of 3rd-rate D-list content no one would ever want to watch. It's like if Tubi, home of all the back-catalog detritus decided to make original content as well and then asked you to pay for it and... oh, that's already happened? Huh. Well, what's the point of Netflix then? Oh, right, their original content is supposed to be better than everyone else. Firstly, it's not; some of it is good, even great, but they hardly have enough shows they make me crave watching the streamer week after week. But, more to the point, you can't trust that anything Netflix is airing will make it past a single season.
This is a standard refrain now, all because of Netflix. The streamer will buy up a ton of shows, drop them on their network as a big batch of episodes, and if the conversation about the show isn't immediate and huge within a week, the show is immediately canceled. I have a ton of friends that outright refuse to watch anything new on Netflix because they don't want to get invested in a show that ends on a cliffhanger and then dies. I don't have exact numbers for the streamer but it does feel like ninety-five percent of their genre shows only get a single season before they get shit-canned. I can't blame anyone for giving up, even if not watching the shows until they have more seasons usually just kills them faster.
Of course, that then assumes that what Netflix is putting out is even worth watching. Unlike my friends, who avoid the network until something has been renewed enough, I'd watch everything that seemed remotely related to the interests of this site. This site needs content and I have to feed it; Netflix was a good way to do that. But as time has gone on, even I have found less and less to watch on the streamer, and fewer that I really cared about. Most of what I've watched in recent memory were shows and movies that I'd stuck with out of some kind of narrative momentum. Productions like Luther: The Fallen Sun, The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, or The Witcher: Blood Origin. How many of those did I genuinely like? None.
Or there was Kaleidoscope, while I only watched because everyone Online said it was a complete an abject failure despite it's cool concept. How about Wednesday, a show that could have been good because of its lead star but, well, sucked hard. Netflix is struggling to create anything of value that I actually want to pay for.
The only thing in the last year that I can say I genuinely enjoyed from the streamer was Glass Onion, which was a great sequel to Knives Out and is absolutely locked up by the network. If that had come out on Blu-Ray I would have bought it (and maybe one day it will). That's it. $20 bucks a month for a film I watched once, and really did enjoy, and then a bunch of other shows I outright hated. That's not worth the time, money, or effort.
So it's gone. I'll take my money and go find other streamers to spend it on instead (maybe Shudder, which I really need to get into). Will I go back for Netflix for, say, the next season of The Witcher or Stranger Things? When I canceled I assumed I would, that I'd pick up a month here or a month there and then cancel again. Now, though, I'm not so sure. I might wait until the end of the year and binge a bunch of content over a month. Or maybe I won't go back at all; the longer I've been away from Netflix the less I've cared about it. There's a lot of other content out there and it's hard to care about Netflix much anymore.
Maybe this was a strong business decision for the network -- they have said subscriptions are up and more than balance out cancellations -- but for me the choice was clear. Bye, Netflix. I won't miss you.