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  • Ofer Zeevy

Mixed reactions for Netflix’s two new major changes

Leading subscription streaming service Netflix, ending 2021 with 221.8 million subscribers worldwide, is constantly looking to upgrade its content offers while generating revenues against very tough competition. In March this year, the company took two key decisions that are supposed to move it into new territories.

The first move was to launch two new video games, with a third one arriving in April, introducing to its audience the possibility to not only view its TV offerings but also to participate actively by playing. The second move was to run a test in three countries, where households will have to pay extra if they wish to add more members to their accounts. Since both initiatives were firsts for Netflix, Affogata tracked consumer reactions and feedback to them during the March 16th-April 3rd time frame. And as it turned out, the results were interesting as well as mixed.

Since viewing stickiness is the new TV measurement, it was only obvious for Netflix to offer its huge subscription base another option to “stick more time” with the service. They began in July 2021 by appointing Mike Verdu, a former executive from Electronic Arts, as vice president of game development, and a month later started offering users in one territory (Poland) some premium mobile games.

Netflix's next moves included acquiring Night School Studio, an independent video game developer, and later continued to acquire more studios to bolster its production options and schedule. The latest purchase was Boss Fight Entertainment, an American mobile game developer.

March 22nd saw the release of the narrative puzzle game This is a true story as well as the brick breaker game Shatter Remastered. First-person shooter game Into the dead 2: Unleashed, launching this April, would complete the first batch of games Netflix is releasing. Player reactions amounted to 1,030 during the time period tracked and analyzed, with mostly neutral comments, showing that the public is just beginning to adjust to the fact that Netflix is now also a gaming service provider. Mentions of the two March games peaked in the first three days after their release.

Both games were discussed with a largely positive sentiment. “This is a true story” was praised for its visuals and story while “Shatter Remastered” was liked for its visuals, soundtrack, and nostalgic feel.

As these are only initial reactions, and the public has just begun to consider Netflix for its gaming, it would be interesting to see if these two games, as well as the ones coming up later on the service, would succeed in giving Netflix the much needed “stickiness” from its subscribers. And Netflix could use tracking more comments from the game users to understand how to improve those games even further.

The second significant March 2022 decision for Netflix was its testing of charging additional fees for subscribers who wished to add more members to their name. Netflix was aiming to discourage members from sharing the same Netflix account, so they introduced new password-sharing regulations.

Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru were chosen as testing areas for such a move. The new feature introduced called for users to pay an additional fee in order to add extra members to their accounts. During the period tracked, 1,281 mentions discussed Netflix's new rules, with a clear-cut 24:1 negative sentiment registered.

Many mentions criticized the decision with several threatening to end their subscription altogether. Others commented by saying they would opt to seek Pirated versions of Netflix instead. There were also complaints about the fact that Netflix chose three South-American territories for which to test their initiative, adding that they wouldn't dare take the same action in the USA. Neutral mentions included those who thought that Netflix is simply trying to compete against other streaming services and increase its revenues. Finally, the few positive commenters appraised and justified Netflix for such a move.

Affogata’s AI-powered platform tracks and analyzes real-time customer feedback from all over the open web as well as internal sources. The data analyzed enables companies to stay in tune with millions of their users worldwide, and figure out their voices and comments, which then enables them to make actionable insights about their products and services.

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