Netflix To Start Charging For Password Sharing

Netflix is to begin testing new tools to crackdown on the widespread practice of password sharing between people who don’t live in the same household, and may start charging them.

The development was revealed in a blog post by Chengyi Long, director of product innovation, in which she revealed the streaming giant is testing the crackdown in three countries, namely Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.

The testing comes after Netflix last week raised the price again for users in the United Kingdom and Ireland – the second time in less than 18 months.

Growing competition

The price hikes comes as Netflix admitted it faces “added competition” from Disney, Apple, Amazon and HBO which it said is affecting its prospects.

In January Netflix said it had grown its global customer base to a total of 222 million subscribers during 2021.

However it conceded it may have difficulties maintaining the pace of growth it had seen during the pandemic.

And it has been clear for a while now that Netflix has been seeking to grow its revenue stream.

In March last year for example, Netflix tested account passwords, as it sought to clampdown on the revenue losing problem of password sharing.

Password sharing

Now in a blog post on Wednesday, Netflix’s Chengyi Long announced it is cracking down on password sharing between people who don’t live in the same household by prompting them to pay an extra fee for the privilege.

“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our Standard and Premium plans,” said Long. “While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, accounts are being shared between households – impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members.”

“So for the last year we’ve been working on ways to enable members who share outside their household to do so easily and securely, while also paying a bit more,” said Long. “And over the next few weeks, we’ll launch and test two new features for our members in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru.”

She wrote that members on our Standard and Premium plans will be able to add sub accounts for up to two people they don’t live with – each with their own profile, personalised recommendations, login and password – at a lower price: 2,380 CLP in Chile, 2.99 USD in Costa Rica, and 7.9 PEN in Peru.

And Netflix will also allow profiles to transferred to new accounts, meaning people who share their account can transfer profile information either to a new account or an extra member sub account. This will allow them to keep their viewing history, My List, and personalised recommendations.

“We recognise that people have many entertainment choices, so we want to ensure any new features are flexible and useful for members, whose subscriptions fund all our great TV and films,” Long concluded. “We’ll be working to understand the utility of these two features for members in these three countries before making changes anywhere else in the world.”

It seems that Netflix will shortly begin to deploy the password sharing crackdown globally, so the days of freeloading off parents, friends, or former partners accounts seem to be well and truly numbered.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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