Free Netflix: Petition asks streamers to stop charging due to coronavirus
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A petition is gaining traction on Change.org for streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime to give 60 days of free service.
The petition, which is up to 50,000 signatures, makes the argument that due to shelter-in-place orders that streamers should drop their fees to assist in keeping America occupied.
"During a worldwide viral pandemic, social distancing and personal quarantine is vitally important to stem the risk of spreading disease," the petition by Philip Kolas reads. "As a result, right now millions of people worldwide are keeping themselves at home in order to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus. While this is a heroic and necessary challenge, it also runs the risk of boredom and isolation, which can lead to depression, among other factors. 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 a temporary 60 day stoppage of membership charges, as well as per-movie rental fees," continues the petition. "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... I call upon every one of these companies that can help make an involuntary homestay more comfortable and therefore more successful to do their part to lift our sorrows and stresses of the quarantine."
Earlier this week, Netflix reportedly added 16 million new subscribers in the first three months of the year, doubling its projections and surging its stock price. The company's value on Tuesday was more than $190 billion, making Netflix worth more than Disney. And Disney hasn't done too shabby recently either on the streaming front, having signed up more than 50 million subscribers to Disney Plus within the service's first six months of release.
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Some entertainment companies have offered giveaways in recent weeks, such as CBS All Access and Showtime each giving away a month of access. Still, it's tough to imagine the most popular streamers locked in a war for market supremacy agreeing to lower their weapons and not earn any revenue for two months.
Netflix and representatives for the other streamers had no immediate comment.