Up until now, Netflix has approached password sharing like the cool parent who prefers that you underage drink in their own house. The party, however, may soon be over with new reports indicating the company is cracking down on users who don’t live with the account holder as per the terms of service, thereby forcing the freeloaders to cough up some cash.
“Is this your account?” reads the pop-up message that a select group of streamers have witnessed on their TVs, according to screenshots published on both The Streamable and GammaWire.
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
The service then allows users to enter their own information and create an account, offering a 30-day free trial in certain territories.
Spokesperson Ebony Turner revealed “hundreds” of tests are conducted with select customers each year, stating: “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
But there’s no hard guarantee this will be implemented across the world just yet, nor applied simply to increase revenue (more on this later). As noted by CNBC, the trial could be rolled out for better account security to flush any unwanted parasites – read: an ex, tight-assed mates, distant cousins, former roommates, etc – who are leeching off your subscription without having to change the password every time; in addition to the incredibly popular phenomena of password sharing.
Netflix currently boasts of over 200 million subscribers, adding 16 million during the end of March last year, and another 10 million during the following period. Despite this, growth has plateaued as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, competing services have entered the market, and the streaming giant runs out of people without Netflix to target for acquisition – the latter of which could potentially be resolved by enforcing zero-tolerance towards password sharing.
“Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids, so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is,” Netflix Co-Founder & Co-CEO Reed Hastings had previously stated.
“We continue to monitor it,” said Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters in a conference years later.
“We’re looking at the situation and we’ll see getting those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that. But we’ve got no big plans to announce at this point in time in terms of doing something different there.”