Every Monday morning, a team of Access media mavens gathers to read the latest trends and topics covered in print media (yes, we still read print media!). The team shares these insights agency wide to ensure we’re all informed and equipped for the week ahead. Every week, we’ll share learnings from the consumer, business and tech spaces here on the Access Point.
This week, we learned that Netflix as we know it is changing, and kids are getting finance lessons from their favorite videogames:
According to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix’s shares slipped over 11% last week after announcing that it lost 130,00 domestic subscribers last quarter. The article attributes the losses to growing competition in the streaming industry, combined with increasing subscription prices. This comes as Netflix users say goodbye to streaming favorites like “The Office” and “Friends,” both of which were pulled by TV providers launching streaming services of their own—let the games begin! (Joe Flint, Patrick Thomas, The Wall Street Journal)
After two years of controversy over Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” the company has removed the scene in question from the final episode of the show’s first season. The scene depicted a graphic suicide, which “studies suggested (…) could have been a factor in a spike in teen suicides in the month after the show premiered.” After the premiere of the first season, Netflix partnered with the American Federation for Suicide Prevention, which contributed to the recent decision—which demonstrates the power of listener support/criticism. Similarly, Netflix said this month that it will “set guidelines around the use of tobacco in its content,” following critiques from antitobacco groups (Joe Flint, The New York Times).
According to The Wall Street Journal, kids have switched from depleting their allowances in toy stores to in-app and in-game purchases for video and computer games: “Kids are now spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on more ephemeral goods such as outfits for their videogame avatars and gems to help them level up in games.” This “virtual spending” is creating concerns about learned unhealthy spending habits in children. As in-game spending has grown (more than $93 billion in 2018), children can grow to see money as an intangible, and struggle to process value and purchasing power. The article highlights the story of a mother who discovered her son has spent over $1,500 via $20 charges over the course of a year, without her knowledge. When confronted about the bill, her son didn’t realize that the coins he spent in the game were in fact real money. In-game spending is becoming a hotbed issue as companies come under fire from consumers and the FTC for unclear standards surrounding in-app purchases—this debate is likely to continue to garner media attention in the coming months (Julia Jargon, The Wall Street Journal).