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The purpose of the decision is to help Netflix customers who don't use the service avoid paying its monthly subscription fee, Netflix head of product innovation Eddy Wu said in a blog post. A standard subscription fee is $12.99/month.
"We’re asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership. And we’ll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years," Wu said.
He added that existing Netflix members will start receiving these messages in their email or in app notifications starting its week. If members do not confirm the emails, Netflix will automatically delete their inactive accounts.
Users who change their minds after the account has been deleted can always recreate an account.
"Anyone who cancels their account and then rejoins within 10 months will still have their favorites, profiles, viewing preferences and account details just as they left them," Wu said.
Inactive accounts make up "a few hundred thousand," or less than half, of the company's total memberships, according to the release.
Netflix reported 183 million subscribers at the end of March. The streaming service gained 15.7 million paid subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, according to its earnings report.