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Netflix Just Quietly Removed This Key Feature

Don't expect to get this option the next time you want to stream your favorite TV show or movie.

Chances are you've shared your Netflix password with a friend or family member, or perhaps they've shared theirs with you. A recent survey by the research firm Magid estimated that Netflix loses more than $135 million each month due to about 10 percent of its users (13.7 million people) sharing their passwords. But while Netflix may be allowing you to stream for free on someone's else dime, the streaming service is cracking down on another free feature. Until now, those in the U.S. who wanted to enjoy Netflix could opt in to a free trial period to see if they enjoyed the service before committing to fully signing up. However, that is no longer the case. In October, Netflix quietly ended its free 30-day trial offer. Read on to find out what you can watch for free on Netflix, and for another entertainment mainstay that's going away, This Major Movie Theater Chain Just Announced It's Closing All Locations.

"Free trials are not available," a note on the company's U.S. website confirms. "But you can still sign up and take advantage of all Netflix has to offer. There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments. You have the freedom to change your plan or cancel online at any time if you decide Netflix isn't for you."

The change in Netflix's policy was first reported by Phillip Swann on his entertainment news site, The TV Answer Man. In one way, this is simply a case of Netflix's American arm playing catch-up with its other services—the free trial has been getting phased out across the globe for the last two years, with Mexico being the first market to have lost the option, and a swathe of other Latin American countries following suit in March 2019.

Other streaming services have moved in a similar direction, with Disney Plus canceling its free trial option back in June.

The announcement comes at a time of growth for Netflix. The company's figures announced in July showed that lockdown had been a boom time for Netflix, with more people signing up in the first half of 2020 than at any time in the service's history (16 million in the first quarter, 10 million in the second). Those new viewers brought Netflix's global paid memberships to 193 million, generating $6.15 billion revenue.

In regards to the end of free trials, in a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said, "We're looking at different marketing promotions in the U.S. to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience."

For now, there's always the Netflix Watch Free site, a totally free, non-membership site where a small number of Netflix shows and movies can be watched by anyone. Want to know what you can watch for free on Netflix right now? Read on, and for more standouts from the streamer, here are The 50 Best Netflix Shows Ever, According to Critics.

Bird Box

sandra bullock in bird box

The Sandra Bullock thriller is one of a few movies available to stream for free on Netflix. And if you love some cinematic trivia, here are 50 Iconic Movie Roles That Almost Went to Someone Else.

Murder Mystery

still from murder mystery

The dark comedy starring Adam Sandler as a cop and Jennifer Aniston as his hairdresser wife centers on a deadly mystery on a billionaire's yacht. Want to know how this movie ranks in Sandler's long resume? Here's a Ranking of Every Adam Sandler Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.

The Two Popes

Still from movie Two Popes

Inspired by true events, this dramatic feature follows Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) as he forms a friendship with the future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce).

Stranger Things

cast of stranger things

Only the pilot episode of this beloved Emmy-winning Netflix original is available to stream, so if you want to catch up on Stranger Things, you'll have to get a Netflix membership (or borrow someone's password). And for more standouts like this, here are The Best Netflix Original Shows of 2020 So Far.


Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix

This teen drama is darker than anything you'll see on your average American network. The Spanish-language series follows three working-class teens attending an exclusive private school in Spain, leading to class clashes and eventually, a murder.

Grace and Frankie

lily tomlin and jane fonda on grace and frankie

This Emmy-nominated series centers on uptight Grace (Jane Fonda) and free-spirited Frankie (Lily Tomlin) whose husbands leave them for each other. And for the shows that have been put on hold due to COVID, here are 10 Beloved TV Shows You Won't See Again in 2020.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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