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Has Netflix Reached its Peak?

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Trying to watch some of Netflix’s more recent series all the way through, says Paul Weiner, feels a bit like cramming frankfurters down your throat in a hotdog eating contest.

Readers outside the US may not share the American enthusiasm for competitive hotdog swallowing. But maybe they can relate to the feeling.

We’ve all spent the last few years, the last two especially, binge-watching, indiscriminately, too mesmerised to click the off-button.

Are we maybe just a little bit sick of it?

That’s the fear seizing executives in Netflix’s boardroom right now. That Mr Weiner, a 28-year-old artist from Denver, Colorado, who loved the streaming service at first, especially for watching old favourites like Star Trek and The Office, typifies a new mood. That after years of skyrocketing subscriber growth, people will switch off, not just their television sets, but their direct debits too.

“Netflix lost some of my favourite shows,” says Mr Weiner. “And I never know which show will disappear next.”

He thinks there’s more clickbait than there was – enticing teaser clips that don’t live up to expectations – and some poor writing.

“There are better streaming deals than Netflix right now,” he says.

Netflix was the first to introduce households to TV-on-tap in 2007, entering popular culture with its avalanche of output, and even spawning the phrase “Netflix and chill” as a euphemism for staying in to have sex. But since then many other streaming services have followed Netflix’s lead, including HBO, Disney, Apple and Amazon, making it an increasingly crowded market.

“I’ve been with them from the beginning. They have some good shows, but they’re not the only player in the market now,” he says.

And he’s not a fan of the other plan Netflix is reported to be contemplating: cracking down on customers who share passwords with other households.

“If Netflix is going to go after people who have a subscription, they’re going to annoy them,” Mr Biggins predicts. And it may not have the outcome they’re hoping for.

Aram Asai Munoz, a law student in Santiago, Chile, has shared a Netflix account with his parents and sister, who live in separate households, for several years.

Since he first signed up – eager to tune in to crime drama Better Call Saul – the monthly cost of the service has roughly doubled, he says.

Many of his friends have already cancelled over the price hikes and quality of content and he says he might well do the same if the firm does clamp down on password sharing – after all Netflix is a “frivolity” compared to the other bills that need paying, he says.

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