With the sequel to its popular, young-skewing romantic comedy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before starting to stream today, Netflix is letting non-subscribers watch the original movie for free until March 9.
More than 80 million subscribers watched the 2018 original, according to Netflix. Young stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo saw their Instagram follower counts skyrocket into the millions after the film resonated with viewers, half of whom reportedly watched it more than once.
While the streaming giant has experimented with free offers in various global territories, this is the first such move in the U.S. The promotion comes at a time when Netflix has seen its subscriber growth in the U.S. flatten, though it continues to surge internationally. Last month, it reported 167 million global subscribers as of the end of 2019, a healthy increase, but executives blamed the addition of just 42,000 subscribers in the U.S. in part on “competitive launches.” Disney and Apple have just debuted major new streaming services, with WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal joining the fray this spring along with the mobile-only Quibi.
Pricing will be a consideration for many consumers as options proliferate. All new services except WarnerMedia’s HBO Max are priced below the prevailing $13 a month rate for Netflix in the U.S.
While Netflix continues to pour money into its original content, films like the To All The Boys franchise or Kissing Booth represent more cost-conscious bets. The company has spent lavishly on the likes of 6 Underground and The Irishman. Its commitments to Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes resulted in a leading 24 Oscar nominations, but the company came away with only two wins at last Sunday’s ceremony.
Content chief Ted Sarandos has repeatedly emphasized his belief that feature films are a key ingredient in the Netflix special sauce. “Consumers understand the value proposition of new movie watching, compared with TV series,” he said last December at an investor conference. “In New York, that’s a $100 night out.”
Awesomeness, which was acquired by Viacom in 2018, is a producer of the To All the Boys films, which have also been cited by execs as key elements in an overall Paramount-Netflix content deal announced in November 2018.
Here’s Netflix’s tweet announcing the promotion:
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