Netflix has been fairly relaxed on people sharing accounts for years now, but it seems as though password-sharing could be coming to an end soon.
As per GammaWire, the streaming giant has started to roll out a new crackdown feature for selected users. People have reported that when using another person’s account, they were met with a screen that reads, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” Hollywood Reporter notes that Netflix has even confirmed such tech is being tested, with a limited rollout at the moment.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” said a Netflix Spokesperson. Research firm Magid suggested that around a third of Netflix users have shared their passwords with another person. The basic plan for Netflix is $8.99 in the U.S., while the standard plan at $13.99 allows users to use Netflix on two separate devices at the same time. For $17.99 per month Netflix users can use their account with four screens simultaneously.
Despite the lack of efforts to stop password-sharing so far, Netflix announced near the start of the year that it now has over 200 million subscribers worldwide. The new anti-piracy measures could be a response to the onslaught of newer mainstream streaming services, which now includes Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+, among others.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in 2016 that “password-sharing is something you have to learn to live with,” but it would appear as though the company feels differently in 2021. “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.”