Why would you cancel Netflix?
The Streaming Lab - MENA #14
Hey 👋 - Yann here.
This is the 14th issue of The Streaming Lab - MENA.
Each Saturday, I analyse 1 topic to better understand the OTT market in the Middle East & North Africa.
This week, we will look at the main reasons why you would cancel your Netflix subscription.
Enjoy the show!
I’ll tell you first why I’m asking this question. Then I’ll review what could push you to remove Netflix from your streaming mix:
You have other options
You don’t watch enough content
Your favorite shows are ending
Your monthly fees are too high
Then I’ll show you how to make an objective choice, backed by data.
Why am I asking you this question?
Because something unexpected is happening to the lord of the streaming: Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1 this year and 970,000 subscribers in Q2. So you wouldn’t be the only one to abandon the ship.
I’d like to understand what happened behind the numbers and what could push you to cancel your subscription.
You have other options
Netflix launched in Middle East & North Africa in 2016, when less than 10 OTT services were active in the region. Today, there are more than 50+ players competing on a fast growing market:
Global giants, homegrown services and international players
Entertainment, Sports and Niche services
SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, FAST and hybrid models
Having more options could be the main reason for you to cancel Netflix and chose another service. But it also means the streaming universe is more fragmented than ever. And at some point, subscription fatigue will affect you, so make your choice wisely.
You don’t watch enough content
It’s easy to say you won’t keep Netflix if you don’t use the service regularly. But I’m also quite sure you don’t keep track on a spreadsheet of all the movies, TV Series, documentaries or Kids shows your family watched last month. So how would you know?
You are lucky, Netflix does keep track of your viewing activity and you can access it here: Go to Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Viewing Activity. You can now review all the content you watched with a specific profile, sorted by date.
If you have big gaps between two titles on a regular basis, you can say you don’t watch enough content on Netflix.
Your favourite shows are ending
I know you were waiting for it: Selling The OC, the Selling Sunset spin-off in Orange County (My wife was).
Netflix still lets members binge watch TV if they want, without having to wait for a new episode to drop each week. This focus on choice and control for members is part of their strategy and what they believe a significant long term business advantage.
But there are consequences: my wife watched all 8 episodes of Selling the OC in just 3 days. Now, she can cancel her subscription and sign-up again when the next season is out (If the show gets renewed of course ;)
Your monthly fees are too expensive
Netflix provides 3 plans today. So before cancelling, you could always downgrade. Here are the prices in UAE:
Basic: AED 29
Standard: AED 39
Premium: AED 56
Price sensitivity depends on many parameters. One of them is to compare the subscriptions fees of all your streaming services. Let me help you on this: here is a graph with the pricing strategies from most of the active SVOD services in MENA:
You can see on the left side the niche services focused on Kids, local content or specific sports. The other players are Entertainment and/or Sports services. The only exception is Prime Video with a very interesting price/quality/quantity mix.
Your can always come back
The beauty of subscription-based services is the model itself: you usually pay on a monthly basis, so why not cancelling and coming back after some time?
Let’s say for the next 3 months you want to watch House of the Dragon on OSN+. Next month, you don’t want to miss The Rings of Power so you’ll add Prime Video to your subscription mix. Why would you need Netflix?
What you would need is to know when your favorite shows will be back on Netflix. You have several options:
1. Before you decide to cancel your subscription, have a look at the New & Popular section and check the recent and upcoming releases.
You can even set a reminder to receive an email when the next season of your favourite TV Series becomes available.
Just keep in mind you won’t have access to the catalogue after you cancel your subscription.
2. Another option would be to use search aggregators or tracking tools for TV & movies: JustWatch, TV Time or Shasha for Middle East.
3. The best option is to follow their social media pages. You won’t miss any Netflix new releases in your region.
The Cost Per View (CPV) method
The CPV will help you understand your usage and how much you spend per title. The formula is simple: Total Subscription Spent / Total Views.
How to get your data:
- Go to Account → Get your membership start date at the top of the page and calculate your number of months as a subscriber.
- Multiply it by the monthly fee in your country and you’ll get your Total Subscription Spent.
- Go to Account → Profile & Parental Controls → Viewing Activity → Download your Viewing Activity file. Check the number of rows and you’ll get your Total Views.
- If you have multiple profiles, just increase the Total Views.
- Divide your Total Subscription Spent by your Total Views.
You got it, your Netflix Cost Per View.
If your CPV is too high, it means you don’t watch enough content on Netflix to cover the cost of your subscription. What are your options? You can become a streaming switcher, downgrade to a less expensive package or wait for the new ad-supported plan next year.
What would make sense is to get your CPV from other streaming subscriptions. Then you would decide the one you can keep and cancel. However, the other OTT services are less transparent and don’t always share your viewing activity. I’m sure we’ll find a way.
That’s all for today, how to better understand your viewing activity of Netflix.
See you online next week. Until then, enjoy Selling The OC on Netflix.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you with:
If you want to learn more about OTT in MENA, I’d recommend starting with my market report:
License premium FAST & On Demand content on TVToday.
Hire top streaming experts for short-term assignments on OTTpro.