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Free shows might be Netflix’s new weapon against Disney+

Published Nov 14th, 2019 11:17AM EST
Netflix Free Movies
Image: Netflix

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Less than two weeks after Apple opened access to its own streaming service, Disney+ launched in three countries with plenty of content that customers would want to watch at home. Just like that, Netflix now has to compete against two big rivals, although it’s just Disney+ that’s a real threat to Netflix’s dominance right now. What’s worse, for Netflix at least, is that both Apple and Disney priced their streaming products significantly cheaper than expected. Apple TV+ costs $5 a month plus a free trial for a full year with the purchase of a new Apple product. Disney has a single $6.99 subscription that’s cheaper than Netflix’s most affordable membership, and it offers better perks. But Netflix is already looking at new ways to compete against these threats, including a partnership with Nickelodeon as well as a new idea for luring in new subscribers: Access to free content.

Netflix already offers a free trial of a month, so that’s really a great way to experience the service without actually paying for it. But on top of that, Netflix wants to offer some free content to potential customers who don’t even want to deal with a trial. The idea could also convince previous Netflix subscribers who have canceled the service to resubscribe, or bring back people who have dumped it once the trial expired.

Netflix has tested free content in some developing markets in the past, including India (Bard of Blood) as well as Mexico and Columbia (Elite), but it’s ready to pull a similar move in a major market, the UK. The first episode of The Crown season 3 will be available for free in Great Britain, Deadline reports. The show will premiere next week on November 17th, and the first episode will be available for free on a dedicated minisite ( UK users have until December 15th to take advantage of the offer.

Season 3 brings a new cast to the popular Netflix original show that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth. Picking up the baton from Claire Foy and Matt Smith, who have played the Queen and Prince Philip in the first two installments of the series, are Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies. Notable additions to the series include Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher).

While members of the royal family have criticized Netflix’s representation of the early years of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the show is quite catchy — well, if you’re into period pieces. And if you do like that sort of thing, a free episode of season 3 won’t suffice. You’ll just have to see everything that happened in the first two seasons, as well as the entire new season, so it could be a great way to convert curious people into subscribers.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.