Those who are currently sharing a Netflix account with a friend and/or family member may soon need to get one of their own. The company has begun testing out a new feature that is designed to crack down on password sharing. The streaming service has, up to this point, largely ignored the issue. No longer. If this feature goes beyond the testing phase, those who have been sharing passwords will not be able to so as easily.
Recently, certain Netflix users began receiving a message while trying to stream content on the service. “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the message reads. It turns out that the company is testing this feature to try and limit password sharing. If two people using the same account don’t live in the same place, the company will attempt to have the user borrowing the password sign up for a new account. Netflix had the following to say about it in a statement.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
This all goes back to what is outlined in Netflix’s terms and conditions. Per the user agreement, “The Netflix service and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” Oftentimes when it comes to password sharing, it is people using the same account in multiple households. From a business perspective, this represents potential losses. For a company as large as Netflix, those losses could be substantial. So it is not difficult to see why they would try to curb the number of people sharing passwords.
Netflix currently has more than 200 million subscribers worldwide. But the competition has become far more fierce over the course of the last year. Rival services such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and, more recently, Paramount+, have all entered the fold. It’s a fight for eyeballs and consumer dollars. Disney+, in particular, has made up a lot of ground, amassing more than 100 million subscribers to date. Considering the Disney-backed service launched in November 2019, that’s pretty impressive. The recent increase in competition may explain why Netflix feels now is the time to do something about password sharing.
It remains unclear if Netflix will expand this beyond the testing phase. It also appears, for the time being, that this is only being done on TVs. Mobile devices are safe for now. Netflix’s basic plan currently runs for $8.99 per month. Its standard, most popular plan is priced at $13.99, following the most recent price increase. This plan allows users to watch on two screens at a time. It appears the plan is to try and ensure those screens are located under the same roof. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as any further information is made available. This news was first reported by The Streamable.