Not Watching Netflix? Streamer Offers to Cancel Inactive Accounts

Netflix headquarters
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Netflix headquarters

Netflix will save account information for 10 months for those members who decide to rejoin.

There are a few hundred thousand people who are paying for Netflix but not using the service to stream movies or TV shows. Netflix is offering to help them cancel their subscriptions. 

The streaming entertainment giant will begin sending emails and in-app notifications to inactive users asking if they want to keep subscribing to the service. It will automatically cancel the subscriptions for anyone who doesn't confirm. (Inactive accounts are users who have not watched anything on Netflix for a year since joining the service or users who have stopped watching for more than two years.)

Netflix's business is driven by its ability to lure new subscribers. Every quarter it touts the size of its base — currently nearly 183 million global subscribers — and its stock swings based on whether investors deemed its growth significant enough. So why would Netflix actively help some members cancel their subscriptions? "At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they're not using," Eddy Wu, a member of the company's product innovation team, wrote in a Thursday morning blog post. "We hope this new approach saves people some hard earned cash." 

Inactive accounts make up less than half of a percent of Netflix's overall user base, Wu explained, adding that they have already been factored into the company's financial guidance. Netflix forecasts that it will add 7.5 million new subscribers during the second quarter of the year, bringing it above 190 million total members by the end of June.

Netflix is promising to save account information for up to 10 months after cancellation, meaning that anyone who decides to rejoin within that period will still have access to their favorites, profiles and viewing preferences.