Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago, who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913 .
When Netflix originally launched in 1997, it offered DVD rentals and sales. Eventually, it focused just on DVD rentals, before becoming the biggest streaming platform on the market. However, due to unbelievable price jumps, defending offensive comedians and more competition, Netflix may be the next big business to fail.
Since the beginning of the 2022 quarter, Netflix has lost over 200,000 subscribers and may lose up to two million more this year. That may seem like nothing, considering the platform has over 222 million total worldwide subscribers. However, if this trend continues, Netflix may have to close its doors. Some have asked, is Dave Chapelle to blame for the fall in subscribers?
When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special The Closer aired in 2021, Dave was accused of making transphobic jokes. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos chose to stand beside Dave, even with bad press and employees boycotting the job. Quite frankly, Sarandos grossly mishandled the 2021 incident. And membership to the platform is now down, so much so that Netflix has laid off twenty-five full-time employees. Naturally, it would seem the Dave Chappelle incident played at least some role in the in losing subscribers, but the incident may be only one part of the issue.
The Dave Chappell controversy happened during the same time as many other impactful events. At the same time, Netflix continued raising prices of subscription. Since 2015, Netflix has increased its subscription prices as much as sixty-six percent. As a person who has gone through at least three price hikes with the streaming platform, I was just not ready to do it again at $19.99. A lot of subscribers to Netflix feel this way and may not think its worth it.
For instance, under certain bundles from other providers outside of Netflix, subscribers can get HBO and Disney+ together for under $12.99 a month. Also, Hulu is a great streaming platform with shows like Woke that make it a fitting alternative to Netflix. And Hulu isn’t on the offensive about account sharing like Netflix is.
Although the Dave Chappelle controversy may have turned away some subscribers, it is not solely responsible for the decline. Netflix’s prices are too high, and they may not come with benefits like a subscription to a music streaming service or other streaming service. Hulu, Showtime, Starz and other streaming services have content that is as good as Netflix’s or better. Netflix made an assumption about its worth that viewers are proving they just don’t believe.
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