Verizon is offering a way for its customers to get Netflix for free.
It's all part of the beta launch of Verizon's new streaming hub, Plus Play, where users can find, subscribe to, pay for and manage various streaming services in one place. The hub acts essentially like a middleman, much like Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels and Roku.
Verizon announced (opens in new tab) that new and existing customers on postpaid wireless plans or with 5G wireless home internet service can get a year of Netflix's Premium plan ($19.99 per month) for free if they subscribe to another service through Plus Play.
To get Netflix for free, you must sign up for a yearlong or seasonal subscription to another service. For instance, you can pay $25 for NFL Plus for the season and get Netflix Premium for an entire year (over $239). This exclusive offer is only available for a limited time, the company noted.
Verizon customers can access Plus Play at no additional cost simply by logging into the hub with their existing Verizon account info. The hub organizes account management for streaming subscriptions in one tab, with another tab for discovering content. Users can receive notifications when a free trial ends or a streaming service raises prices.
Analysis: Streaming service management is the hot place to be
The streaming industry has exploded in recent years. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Digital Media Trends survey (opens in new tab), around 85% of U.S. households have at least one subscription to a video streaming service. The average is four services per household. Around 7% of Americans have six or more!
Also on the rise: churn. That's the term when users sign up and later cancel a service, then start the cycle again with that same service or a different one. Churning is a way to avoid paying a big streaming bill every month. We have a whole monthly column about churning where we recommend which streaming services to cancel, to help people lower their bills.
But managing various subscriptions and free trials can quickly become a headache. It's easy to forget to cancel a service before a free trial ends or the month runs out, resulting in a bill you didn't want.
Companies like Amazon, Roku, Google and now Verizon want to function as a middleman to help users with streaming management. If you sign up for or link all your services in one hub, you can see all of them at a glance. The companies typically get a cut of the subscription fee, while the streamers may entice new customers.
The Verizon/Netflix deal is particularly noteworthy because Netflix doesn't offer a free trial or discounts. Most other streaming services have deals throughout the year, but Netflix has stayed out of that game.
However, the industry leader has suffered subscriber losses this year and seen its stock plummet as a result. They've made several moves to gain new subscribers, such as introducing a lower-cost ad-supported tier and cracking down on password sharing.
And as part of the deal, Netflix will get data on the streaming services Verizon customers chose to get the free promotion. They could use that information to make content decisions. If they see that many Verizon users are signing up for NFL Plus or NBA League Pass, Netflix might be willing to spend more on rights to live sports.