Netflix thinks its original content can get people to subscribe, so through March 9th, the streaming service is giving US residents a free movie, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, in the hopes that it might get them to pay and sign up to watch the sequel, which came out today. Netflix has previously tested this strategy in the UK with The Crown and for regional shows in India, Mexico, and Colombia. This is the first time it’s offering a free movie in the US.
The US audience is a priority for Netflix, although its growth in the country has slowed. In its latest earnings call, the company said it added only 550,000 subscribers in the US and Canada last quarter, likely because of its price hike last year. It also said it’ll add fewer subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 because of “slightly elevated churn levels” in the US, meaning subscribers are canceling their subscriptions and likely looking to other services instead. With Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus having launched last year and other streaming services like Quibi, Peacock, and HBO Max planned for this year, Netflix has more competition than ever. Giving people a content sample in an attempt to get them hooked is one way it might be able to entice people to spend money and time on the platform.