Netflix said on Friday it had made some documentary features and series, including Our Planet and Explained, available on the company’s YouTube channel for free at the request of teachers.
The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak has forced educational institutions to shut down, and confined millions of students to their homes, compelling schools and colleges to tap virtual tools to keep the classes running.
The decision to make some content free on YouTube is a rare exception to Netflix’s marketing strategy, which otherwise charges a monthly subscription fee from users to avail its services.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has driven an internet boom, boosting shares of Netflix, the company faces tightening competition from Apple TV+ and Disney+, which has attracted more than 50 million paid users globally.
“For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms. However, this isn’t possible with schools closed,” the company said in a blog post titled ‘Responding to teachers’ requests for access to documentaries’, explaining the move. ” So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix US YouTube channel,”
“Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers – and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them first-hand… We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world… Note these documentaries are currently available in English. Subtitles in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week. Also if you are a parent or teacher, please check the ratings so that you can make informed choices for your students and children,” the blog adds.