With the majority of the United States still struggling with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing stay-at-home quarantine, one undeniable consistency is the huge rise in traffic for all forms of streaming entertainment. (Yes, that means the X-rated stuff, too.) Such is the almighty power of streaming that new app Quibi and upcoming services HBO Max and Peacock chose not to alter debut rollouts. All these streaming sites are putting a dent in already shrinking bank accounts, however, and now a petition exists that pleads for Netflix, Disney+ and other companies to start waiving subscription fees for two months.
Currently housed at the website Change.org, the petition titled "Make Media Streaming Services Totally Free For The Quarantine" started off gradually but has built up some steam recently with more attention being drawn to it. As it stands, the petition has 61,550 signees, with a goal of 75,000 signatures needed to send the request higher up the ladder. Here's a selection of the petition's main mission statement, to give everyone an idea of what the underlying goal is.
Many people are turning to their streaming services to alleviate their monotony. The problem with this is that many people cannot afford these membership fees, especially in a time like now when many people's economic livelihood is already strained. Therefore, this petition asks that all worldwide streaming services inact (sic) a temporary 60 day stoppage of membership charges, as well as per-movie rental fees. If people can watch as much as they want, whenever they want, this will help alleviate the stress of home isolation, as well as encourage people to stay home. This is a responsible community health strategy.
To the petition creator's credit, a number of streaming services and cable/satellite providers have been quite charitable in recent weeks, with the specific goal of giving self-quarantining citizens a chance to entertain themselves without worrying about costs. From Amazon's kid-friendly programming to SlingTV's free options to CBS All Access and HBO giving viewers more free access, it's technically never been easier to stream top-quality TV and movies for free. (Not to mention already free sites like Tubi, Pluto TV, and more.)
However, to think that global mega-companies like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon would completely renege on subscription fees is a notion that borders on unadulterated lunacy. For instance, Netflix added a mind-blowing 15.8 million new subscribers in the first three months of 2020 – more than doubling execs' already high expectations – for a total of 182 million subscribers that brought the company $5.77 billion in revenue. Sure, Netflix is at a point where it could technically afford to waive costs for 60 days, it's like saying I could technically afford to eat eggs every day for 60 days. Just because it can happen doesn't mean it's the most sensible option.
Obviously Netflix is the biggest fish in the streaming pond, but that likely just means that other services have even less financial motivation to give their goods away for free. Even the rising power of Disney+, with arguably the biggest entertainment monolith in the world behind it, is dealing with its own fairly unique money problems, considering the gobsmacking amount of revenue is being lost over Disney's theme parks being shut down around the world. (And things will likely never be the same whenever they do reopen.)
Being charitable is one thing, but this petition is kind of reaching for the stars with its feet in quicksand. It's been up for some weeks now and still hasn't hit the 75,000 mark, which is half of a drop in the bucket compared to Netflix's 180+ million subscribers. But stranger things have happened, I guess, and not just in Hawkins, Indiana.
Check out all the great shows that are coming to Netflix during the rest of 2020, as well as some upcoming gems from Disney+, and stay tuned to see if any of these giant companies end up do deciding to curb costs for financially strapped streamers.