A new petition on Change.org requesting that Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services make their services free amid the coronavirus pandemic is gaining popularity. According to a recent report from Entertainment Weekly, the petition has almost reached 50,000 signatures.
The petition asks that streaming services consider their place in keeping audiences occupied and entertained while people are forced to stay indoors.
Philip Kolas is credited with creating the petition. He wrote that due to the pandemic, millions of people are partaking in social distancing measures, leaving them alone and isolated at home.
Kolas believes that with an unlimited amount of free content to watch, people will be more likely adhere to stay-at-home orders. Opting to stay home and binge-watch movies and television could help reduce the number of new coronavirus infections.
The problem right now, Kolas says, is that while consumers are stuck at home, some of them cannot afford to pay streaming service fees, especially if they are out of work.
“Therefore, this petition asks that all worldwide streaming services inact a temporary 60 day stoppage of membership charges, as well as per-movie rental fees.”
Kolas calls his plan a “responsible community health strategy.”
The petition is not entirely unfounded. Services like HBO and Apple TV Plus are offering select films and television from their catalogs free to nonsubscribers. Streamers like CBS All Access and Showtime have been giving away free months of access.
Entertainment Weekly specifies that Netflix has yet not commented on the petition nor have any other streaming services.
The article says Netflix has reportedly exceeded expectations in the first three months of this year by procuring 16 million new subscribers. Disney Plus secured more than 50 million subscribers within six months of its release.
With numbers like those, it is unlikely that either service would consider removing fees altogether.
Despite the petition gaining thousands of signatures, most social media users feel the request is a silly one. Several people responded to the Entertainment Weekly article on Twitter, calling it an “asinine request.”
Multiple users suggested that those who cannot afford Netflix and other streaming services should stick with broadcast television or DVDs.
“HBO is basically giving away a free month right now. If you still havent watched ‘the Sopranos’ you’re not allowed to ask for free netflix,” joked one user.
“They already let you have five users per account. Give me a break,” wrote another person.