| Special to The Ledger
Here’s something unusual: A company is going to notify members who are paying for its service – and who haven’t used the service in some time – that they will be dropped from the service.
The company: Netflix, the movie-streaming service. “At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they’re not using,” a company spokesman recently announced.
So if you are an inactive user – or non-user in this case – you can look for an email from the company if you haven’t used the service in the past year.
“So we’re asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership,” said Eddy Wu, the company’s product innovation director. “And we’ll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years.”
If you’re happy with paying out monthly on your credit card while not watching, simply confirm that you still want the service. If not, “we’ll automatically cancel their subscription,” Wu said. “If anyone changes their mind later, it’s really easy to restart Netflix.”
And if that restart happens within 10 months, returning subscribers will find their history of viewing and preferences saved at the point the service was ended.
Netflix isn’t struggling for members. In fact, from January to March, when people started staying home because of the pandemic, the company added nearly 16 million subscribers. That increased total members to more than 180 million.
The inactive subscribers – also called “zombie accounts” in the industry – amount to only a few hundred thousand accounts, or less than one-half of 1% of the total base.
Netflix said it is doing this mainly to save its customers “their hard-earned cash,” but it is also sending the message to other subscribers that Netflix takes care of its customers.
This is the second time I’ve been amazed by something Netflix has done. A decade or so ago, the company was having some problems with its sorting machines that handled DVD returns. That trouble resulted in a delay in getting new DVDs in exchange for ones returned.
The next month, I received an email saying that my account had been given a credit for the inconvenience – a credit that I never requested.
And decades later, I’m still a loyal subscriber. Don’t you wish (insert your choice of company here) worked like that?
Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected]