Looks like South Africans will have to pay for their own Netflix account

  • The Q2 results for Netflix highlight the successes of paid sharing in the regions its been rolled.
  • However, Netflix won’t be offering paid sharing in the countries it hasn’t rolled the option out in yet.
  • Instead free sharing will be prevented and users will be required to sign up for their own account.

South Africans may have to start paying for their own Netflix account rather than simply being able to add profiles like other territories have been able to.

In its Q2 results presentation, Netflix reported that paid sharing was doing so well that it expects revenue growth to accelerate in the second half of the year. The streaming giant reports that paid membership increased six percent with 5.9 million new paid memberships being added to the books since the last quarter.

That’s impressive considering that in Q1 Netflix only added 1.75 million new paid members.

“In May, we expanded paid sharing to 100+ countries, which account for over 80% of our revenue. The cancel reaction was low and while we’re still in the early stages of monetization, we’re seeing healthy conversion of borrower households into full paying Netflix memberships as well as the uptake of our extra member feature. We are revenue and paid membership positive vs. prior to the launch of paid sharing across every region in our latest launch,” Netflix told its shareholders.

South Africa is not one of the 100+ countries where paid sharing has been rolled out and from that same letter to shareholders we learned that it more than likely won’t be.

“Beginning today, we’ll start to address account sharing between households in almost all of our remaining countries. In these markets, we’re not offering an extra member option given that we’ve recently cut prices in a good number of these countries (for example, Indonesia, Croatia, Kenya, and India) and penetration is still relatively low in many of them so we have plenty of runway without creating additional complexity. Households borrowing Netflix will be able to transfer existing profiles to new and existing accounts,” the platform says.

As South Africa falls under the “remaining countries” category, we suspect that soon folks will have to pay for their own Netflix account.

In my own circle this means Netflix is going to be getting three additional subscriptions at a minimum of R99 from the my family and friends that have been sharing my account over the last few years. That’s potentially R297 in Netflix’s pocket that it didn’t have before, showcasing the exact reason the firm doesn’t want me to share my account for free anymore.

However, Netflix isn’t assured to convert every “borrower” as it dubs them.

“…we see differential engagement across that borrower population. So there are some borrowers who are using it the service every day. And those folks are very likely to transfer to their own accounts very soon. And then some folks are less engaged. And it’s going to take us a little bit longer to convince them to move over with great stories, great TV shows and films,” co-chief executive officer Gregory Peters said in an earnings call.

The question that is hanging over Netflix, and many other streaming platforms, is whether there will be any content for them to populate their services with.

Both the Writers Guild of a America and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are striking at the moment which has brought productions to a screeching halt. Both parties downed tools after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers could not find common ground. That alliance includes Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

It’s telling then that Netflix dedicated all of one sentence about future content in its letter to shareholders.

Even Ted Sarandos, co-CEO at Netflix, swerved a question about running out of content at a certain point.

“Well, look, we’ve put some of our upcoming content in the letter. We’ve said in the last call, we produced heavily across all kinds of content TV, film, unscripted, scripted, the local domestic, English, non-English, all those things. And they’re all true. But that’s besides the point. The real point is we need to get to this strike to a conclusion so that we can all move forward,” said Sarandos.

That content mentioned in the letter is The Crown, Top Boy, The Upshaws, Sweet Magnolias, Heartstopper, Virgin River, and Too Hot To Handle.

While we’re sure Netflix wants the strike to end, the actors and writers that are striking also want to make sure they have a future in the industry, just like Sarandos who, according to Deadline, earned over $50 million last year.


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