Is Netflix still worth it?

October 10, 2020 — by Avani Kongetira
Screen Shot 2020-10-10 at 11

Netflix’s content and diversity overshadow its negatives: the removal of fan favorites and the controversy over “Cuties.”

As boredom hovers over students during shelter-in-place, many turn to Netflix. It has become a prominent part of our lives, but as I plow through show after show, a question comes up: Is Netflix still worth it?

My biggest objection is that the platform has already canceled popular shows such as “Friends,” which was the second most streamed show on Netflix in 2018. It also plans to withdraw “Parks and Recreation” this month and has been threatening to remove “The Office,” which, according to Chicago Tribune, accounts for 45.8 billion minutes watched over a 12-month period.

The loss of these fan favorites makes me much less inclined to keep my subscription.

Apart from the removal of popular shows and movies, the controversy over the French film “Cuties” is another considerable downside. 

Many subscribers were sickened by the sexualization of minors in “Cuties” and the way it was advertised on Netflix. The original artwork, which showed young girls in provocative clothes and poses, was shocking and uncomfortable. 

Some viewers dropped their subscriptions entirely in protest, and according to a story from NBC News, in Texas, Netflix was indicted for promoting inappropriate material depicting a child.

Netflix changed the artwork and description for the movie, but continues to stand by it, refusing to take it off their platform.

Netflix has also lost subscribers due to the recent rise of other streaming services such as Disney+, released in late 2019, and HBO Max, which launched in May 2020. Disney+ cost Netflix almost all of its Disney content as well as one million subscribers.

Although Netflix does have a greater variety of content than does Disney+, HBO Max is a compelling alternative. It has some titles that are almost impossible to find anywhere else, like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” admittedly at a higher price.  A standard subscription with Netflix costs $12.99 per month, two dollars cheaper than one for HBO Max.

Prime Video and Hulu are also strong competitors, but they do not match up to Netflix. Prime has more diversity, but much of its content can only be bought or rented, on top of a $8.99 monthly membership. The ads on Hulu make it almost unbearable, but it is much cheaper, at $5.99 per month.

Despite Netflix’s many faults, its content and variety help redeem the service.

Although some of its most well-known programs will no longer be offered, Netflix brings in shows and movies every month. This month, Netflix is adding over 100 titles, including “Emily in Paris” and the sixth season of “Schitt’s Creek.”

The variety and cultural diversity of the platform is also noteworthy. It offers plenty of genres, from rom-coms to old classics, and its cultural spectrum includes everything from Bollywood to Spanish soap operas and Korean dramas.

Netflix also provides much of its own original media. “Stranger Things,” “The Umbrella Academy” and “Money Heist” are just a few of the immensely popular originals offered only on Netflix.

“The Umbrella Academy” and “Money Heist” both garnered over 40 million views from October 2018 to September 2019, according to The New York Times. “Stranger Things” had a whopping 64 million views, and for good reason; the acting was incredible and the unconventional plot kept me hooked. I would keep my subscription just to watch it. 

While I do not agree with the advertising of “Cuties” and the removal of many programs, I like the variety Netflix presents and the Netflix Originals that roll in every so often. I’ll be keeping my Netflix subscription, at least until the world goes back to normal.