Netflix and AMC’s New Decisions Cost Consumers


Netflix and AMC Theaters implement controversial payment structures. (Courtesy of Twitter)

How do you prefer watching movies? On one hand, you might log in to Netflix and scroll through the trending tab to find a new movie you haven’t seen. On the other hand, maybe you can’t wait for the movie to start streaming and prefer the big-screen experience, so you drive to a nearby movie theater to purchase the best tickets. With the recent price increases to use Netflix and attend movie theaters, you might find it more difficult to do both.

Netflix recently shared their new rules to combat password sharing. In an effort to help themselves financially after facing competition from other streaming services, Netflix has decided to charge a fee for password sharing. They have various methods to detect password sharing, one of which is a requirement to create a primary location that you must log on to every month.

Reactions to the new rules have been largely negative, and people on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Reddit, have expressed their frustrations with the streaming service. One argument against these rules is that they place those who cannot regularly go back to their primary network, including college students and those who travel for work, at a disadvantage. The decision even caught the attention of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who tweeted that she may just unsubscribe from Netflix because she does not want to constantly reenter her password. For others, it is merely a lack of enthusiasm for Netflix’s mediocre content library, and some have already canceled their subscriptions. One Reddit user stated that the new password-sharing rules were merely the final nail in the coffin for their subscription, and they will only resubscribe for another month when the final season of “Stranger Things” comes out.

But if people decide to cancel their Netflix subscriptions and start going to movie theaters, they may feel disappointed to see that the best seats are so expensive. AMC Theaters is changing the prices of their tickets based on three different “sightlines”: standard, value and preferred. A standard sightline ticket will be the regular price. Value sightline tickets in the front row are cheaper but only available if you are part of AMC Theaters’ membership, and preferred sightline tickets are the most expensive, middle seat tickets. The new pricing system has already taken effect in New York.

Similar to the response towards Netflix’s new password sharing rules, people were unhappy with AMC Theaters. One of the most popular tweets regarding the decision came from movie star Elijah Wood, well-known for his role in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise. He said that going to movie theaters is no longer an activity that everyone can enjoy: 

“The movie theater is and always has been a sacred democratic space for all and this new initiative by @AMCTheatres would essentially penalize people for lower income and reward for higher income.”

 A Reddit user questioned the practicality of the pricing system, wondering whether it would work in empty theaters where people could easily switch seats after the movie starts. A response said that they will just wait to stream movies from now on, stating that “movie theaters are trying to do everything they can to push me away so I won’t bother.”

With all of these criticisms and vows to stop supporting Netflix and AMC Theaters, will they actually negatively affect either company? Netflix’s password-sharing rules have not gone into effect in the United States yet, but they have in countries such as Canada and Peru. Canadian users on TikTok, which include college students, have filmed themselves canceling their Netflix subscriptions. The new password-sharing rules in Peru were tested last year, leading to confusion as to what counts as a primary household, which caused some users to cancel their subscriptions. Similar to American users, other Peruvian users canceled their accounts due to a lack of interest in Netflix’s catalog.

As for AMC, they already tested whether or not increasing ticket prices would be successful during showings of “The Batman” last year, charging $1 extra than other movies showing that weekend at AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. A poll from Morning Consult before the movie’s release showed that moviegoers would be willing to pay more money for popular movies released in 2022. However, the poll also showed that it was unlikely that the increased pricing would bring new audiences to the theaters. The film was a box office success, so those who enjoy and can afford attending movie theaters may not be deterred from the new pricing system. Those who were always unenthusiastic about going to movie theaters will most likely feel more comfortable waiting until the movie comes out on streaming or DVD.

The long-term, widespread effects of these changes are unknown and difficult to determine. Given both of these scenarios, however, one thing is for certain: watching movies is becoming expensive, and movies will no longer be a form of entertainment that everyone can easily enjoy. If you like your Netflix subscription, then maybe the password-sharing rules will be worth it. If not, then maybe it’s time to switch to another streaming service, or you’ll just have to bite the bullet and buy the cheapest seats at an AMC Theater.