Netflix has released a smattering of original movies and series completely free to stream — no account needed.
The streamer’s new “Watch Free” site, available free to any internet user worldwide, is a bid to land new paying customers: Each of the titles available free has a pre-roll sizzle reel highlighting a range of Netflix original programming. At the end, Netflix prompts viewers to sign up for an account.
“Visit netflix.com/watch-free to get a peek at the type of entertainment you can expect from us by watching the first episode of some of our most popular shows,” Netflix says on the site.
Netflix movies available free to stream right now are Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box,” Adam Sandler comedy “Murder Mystery,” co-starring Jennifer Aniston; DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby: Back in Business”; and Oscar-nominated “The Two Popes” with Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins.
On the TV side, Netflix offers a half-dozen titles — however, it’s making free only the pilot episodes of each of the series. Those include hit originals “Stranger Things” and reality show “Love Is Blind,” Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” “Grace and Frankie” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, “Elite,” and “Our Planet.”
On its free-streaming landing page, Netflix notes, “The selection may change from time to time, so watch now!”
Netflix’s expanded “sampling” strategy has been used for years by premium pay-TV networks like HBO and Showtime. During the COVID pandemic, pay services supercharged the scope of the free trials and free content, aiming to convert home-quarantined free samplers into paying subs.
“We’re looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience,” a Netflix rep said in a statement. The new free-streaming selections from Netflix were first spotted by blog OnlyTech.
Note that Netflix’s free titles can be viewed only on the web via a computer or on an Android device (Apple iOS browsers are not supported). You can’t stream the free content on connected-TV platforms.
Netflix’s launch of the new free-streaming landing page comes after it dabbled in sampling earlier this year. This past April, it made a selection of 10 documentary films and series available for free on YouTube, positioned as a resource for home-bound teachers and students. In February, Netflix offered the 2018 original movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” free to watch for a limited time in the U.S. as part of promoting the sequel.