Netflix is doing pretty well these days, having added 26 million subscribers in the first half of 2020, even as concerns have been raised over whether the service might begin to lose subscribers once the coronavirus production shutdown leads to a decline in new programming.
On Monday, there were a couple of big developments with the world’s most popular streaming service. Gadgets 360 reported that, in a first, Netflix was offering free access to several of its most popular movies and TV shows, including “Stranger Things,” “Bird Box,” “The Two Popes,” and “Boss Baby: Back in Business.”
“We're looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience,” the company said in as statement to that site. The free shows and movies are available at www.netflix.com/watch-free.
Also on Monday, BGR reported that Netflix has begun to roll out a redesign of its desktop site, its first in several years.
The big change is that the pages for each movie or show appear not as their own page, but rather as an overlay. In that interface, it is also now possible to view an entire listing of an entire season of a show’s episodes.
The new design also offers similar titles, in a tile layout.
The new-look has begun rolling out, though it’s not clear when it will have arrived for all customers. It’s also not clear whether the service’s mobile and TV-based apps will also be getting a new design.
Hulu also rolled out a new design, for its TV and other interfaces, earlier this summer.
Whether they have the new Netflix interface or not, subscribers to the service will have access to a long list of new content in the month of September, including the entire “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Grease,” the two most recent Muppets movies, the new Charlie Kaufman movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” a documentary about the Challenger disaster, and the new Robert Pattinson/Tom Holland/Sebastian Stan thriller “The Devil All the Time.”
And while many major Hollywood studios have delayed their high-profile movies to 2021, IndieWire reported over the weekend about Netflix’s expansive awards slate for the fall, which includes director David Fincher’s “Mank,” Ron Howard’s book adaptation “Hillbilly Elegy,” Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and the George Clooney-directed “The Midnight Sky.”
Netflix is also preparing the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which will be the final starring role for “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from cancer last Friday. It’s not clear if the film will be ready for release this year, however.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.