Netflix lets users watch some original movies, TV shows for free

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Netflix is trying to find new ways to attract subscribers.
Image: Unsplash | Thibault Penin

Sure, Netflix has a free trial. It lets consumers get accustomed to its platform for an entire month, risk-free. The streaming service is now taking things a step further by allowing users to watch select original content for free—no strings attached. Users don’t even need to have a subscription to watch titles like “Bird Box,” “Murder Mystery,” and “Stranger Things.”

It might seem counterintuitive to offer two forms of a free trial. However, the move gives Netflix yet another way to showcase its offerings to those who might otherwise be skeptical. More importantly, consumers are able to watch some of the streaming giant’s original programming, which it has focused on in recent years.

Getting Acquainted

Today’s streaming landscape is increasingly crowded. Newcomers like Disney+ and the revamped HBO Max are challenging larger services like Hulu and Netflix. Meanwhile, as more companies shift their business models in favor of subscriptions, consumers find themselves with some difficult choices to make. Although it’s possible to subscribe to every streaming service out there, the vast majority of consumers will choose just one or two.

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Netflix wants to make sure that it is at the top of everyone’s list.

On Monday, a company spokesperson said, “We’re looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience.”

The streaming service’s latest approach is to simply give away some of its content.

Consumers can head to a devoted website (netflix.com/watch-free) to start watching. The mini-site has a generous list of content to browse. It includes popular titles like those mentioned above alongside “When They See Us,” “Our Planet,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Love is Blind,” and more.

It’s worth noting that the listed movies are available in their entirety. Users will only be able to watch the first episode of each TV series, however.

Regardless of what consumers choose to watch, they’ll see a message with encouragement to sign up for Netflix at the end. This isn’t surprising given that the content is part of a free promotion. Still, it’s a small price to pay for those in search of a free movie night.

Netflix says that users will be able to access the free content via a web browser on both computers and Android devices. However, support for iOS browsers is non-existent. It also appears that the promotion doesn’t work with the Netflix app.

Looking for Solutions

Despite the increased competition, Netflix has enjoyed a solid year so far. It has been bolstered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with more people staying inside. The streaming giant is seeing a surge in growth since the start of the year.

However, those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Netflix warns that it is likely pulling forward members who would have joined later in the year anyway.

With that in mind, Netflix has two options. It can remain stagnant and let the pandemic boost balance out a lopsided year, or, it can make an aggressive push to continue acquiring new subscribers. The fact that it is rolling out a new way to entice consumers suggests that Netflix aims to do the latter.

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