Netflix, the streaming company that once tweeted “Love is sharing a password,” has begun cracking down on password sharing in the United States, as it looks to increase revenue in what has become a saturated streaming market.
The company has previously said that more than 100 million subscribers worldwide access Netflix through password sharing and revealed in April 2022 that it lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade. The company added 7.66 million new subscribers for the final quarter of 2022, when it launched its lower-cost, ad-supported tier, and gained 1.75 million net new subscribers in the first quarter of 2023.
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The streamer has been slowly rolling out its new password protocol worldwide. Earlier this week, the company began alerting U.S. customers who shared their accounts with others outside their household about the new policy. “Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with—your household,” the company said on Tuesday.
Here’s what this means for users.
How Will Netflix Enforce This?
With the new policy, only users who are part of a “Netflix Household”—those who are using the same internet connection—will be able to access the account unless they are paid additional users added onto a Standard or Premium plan. Those who are currently borrowing a Netflix password will get an update when they try to log in that tells them how to start their own account, the Washington Post reported.
A Netflix spokesperson said that if a viewer who is outside of a household attempts to log into that household’s account, that person will “see notifications in the Netflix product flow prompting them to either port their profile to a new account using Profile Transfer or being added as an extra member” to an existing account, which would come at an additional cost.
The company says it will use information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device is part of a household, and insists that it will not collect GPS data from users.
Netflix has said that customers will still be able to access their accounts while traveling, on their personal devices or a television in a hotel or vacation home. It remains unclear how long a device will be allowed to remain logged in from another location.
What Can Users Do?
For a price, subscribers with the $15.49 a month Standard plan can add one extra member outside of their household, while those with the $19.99 a month Premium plan can add two. For both tiers, each extra user would cost an additional $7.99 per month. According to Netflix, the additional member will have their own profile, account, and password, but their membership will be paid for by the person who invited them to join.
Users who have been added to these memberships have to activate their accounts in the same country as the original membership, can only view or download content on one device at a time, and they can’t create extra profiles, or log in as a Kids profile.
Users who were previously sharing a subscription and decide to fork the cash for their own account, can transfer their old profiles to a new account. The streamer now offers a $6.99 “Standard with ads” that includes “all but a few movies and TV shows” while the $9.99 Basic account offers unlimited, ad-free streaming. The company’s Standard and Premium options offer additional perks like the option to use more than one device at a time and download content on multiple devices.
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