Netflix confronts problem of free viewers

|| February 28, 2019

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms social media coordinator

Welcome back to another issue of our regular social media blog. Here are some things to know to stay updated in this rapidly changing world:

  • Netflix has realised a revenue problem – 1 in 5 people are watching Netflix through a family or friend's account. It sounds stupid because it’s been happening for a long time, but the estimated loss for Netflix in 2019 has them looking for a solution. Netflix estimates that 24 million people worldwide watch Netflix off someone else’s account. At an average monthly cost of $7.99, the monthly loss of revenue is a whopping $192M, and a staggering $2.3B annually. Personally it’s a tough fix because if people aren’t paying a subscription, they’re pirating elsewhere for free. Content is accessible in so many places, I’m interested to see how Netflix tackles this issue.
  • Tik Tok (formerly know as has paid a $5.7M fine after it allegedly stored data from underage children (under 13 years) using the app. The data included full names, email addresses, and, for a period of time, user locations. To me, this record breaking settlement (under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, 1998), is a big warning for any other apps whose user-base is largerly made up of adolescents. No longer can companies turn a blind eye to young children using their services.
  • After Facebook’s donate button raised over $1 billion, it was only a matter of time before its counterpart Instagram would receive its own. But it’s a touchy topic among users who now feel that their trust in social media and the perceived risk of identity/monetary theft is a little wobblier than it was when Facebook introduced the donate button back in 2013. The chatter at the moment looks at Instagram placing a ‘Donation’ option in the form of a sticker for Instagram Stories. The button will link to a list of charities associated with Instagram as well as those whom the user follows and act as a direct donation portal to that charity. The catch though is that your card information will be saved and stored within the Instagram app which Instagram hopes you will use later for purchases as you scroll through your newsfeed. Mark Zuckerberg commented on this saying ‘there is a big opportunity to basically enable transactions and make the buying experience good’; ie: fewer abandoned shopping carts. But perhaps this is a positive tool that can bring some benefit to the world? Facebook’s donate button has raised well over $1 billion for countless charities all around the world - I’m seeing my friends use it more often on Facebook in place of a birthday event. If the result is positive, are you on board?
  • Facebook recently announced a $5M investment in the Walkley Foundation to bring the Facebook Journalism Project News Accelerator to Australia. What is it? In short, it’s a program that will provide training, coaching and project funding for news organisations, to help them connect with and monetise their audiences both on and off Facebook. The world of Facebook and Google is one that news organisations have struggled to grasp. This new initiative will launch in Australia later this year, hosting teams from newsrooms who will build on the expertise and best practices developed during the pilot US accelerators in 2018.
  • The big news from last week came out of the YouTube camp which experienced aggressive kickback from big brands affiliated with the company. It was discovered that a paedophile group had been targeting monetised videos containing young children and adding inappropriate comments pertaining to scenes where the child is less clothed, as well as commenting time-stamps so other people within this ‘group’ can see the mentioned scenes. The problem with this is advertisers working with brands are now being associated with paedophiles and so, not long after the first reports became apparent, companies were withdrawing all ads from YouTube quoting they wanted no association with any such behaviour. YouTube is still investigating the issue but has removed and managed the bulk of the issue so far, so it seems.

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