Netflix ends free trial offer for American subscribers

The Netflix app is displayed alongside other streaming media services on the homepage of a Roku Streaming Stick. (Photo: Matthew Keys / Flickr Creative Commons)

Netflix has ended its free trial offers for American customers, a company spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

The move ends a long-term marketing promotion that started with the company’s legacy DVD-by-mail service in which prospective customers received lengthy free trials via promotional brochures that were included with DVD players and, later, Blu-rays.

The company had offered new customers a generous 30-day free trial to test its subscription streaming service before converting users over to a paid account. Those accounts start at $9 a month and increase to $17 a month depending on features and the number of simultaneous streams allowed.

The move was first spotted by Andrew Freedman, an analyst with Hedgeye Risk Management who specializes in streaming media services.

On Tuesday, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed the company had moved away from free trials and was actively exploring other ways to attract new subscribers to the service. As of July, Netflix had nearly 73 million domestic subscribers.

Earlier this year, Netflix said it would stop charging customers whose accounts had been dormant for more than a year, a move the company said would be negligible on its bottom line.

“The last thing we want is people paying for something they’re not using,” Eddy Wu, a Netflix executive in charge of product innovation, said.

After today, when those customers re-start their accounts, they won’t be given a free trial — they’ll be charged in full.

Netflix will report financial earnings for its most-recent quarter later this month.