Future Tech

Netflix expands its long-dreaded crackdown on account sharing

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 08:49 AM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

SAN FRANCISCO: Netflix is sending emails with a dreaded "update on sharing" to users around the world with a clear message for people who share their Netflix account across more than one household: Time to pay up.

Seeking an extra source of revenue, the streaming giant began emailing customers on Tuesday that it would charge additional fees for every extra profile outside of the original subscriber's home.

"Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with," reads a Netflix being sent to millions of homes around the world, prompting subscribers to pay €4.99 (in Europe/RM24) or US$7.99 (in the US/RM36) extra per month.

Netflix promises that the new rules don't mean you can only watch content in your own home, and that you will continue to be able to watch as you travel.

The company isn't saying exactly which features the service's systems use to recognise that a user does not belong to the same household. This is to prevent the measures from being circumvented, it says.

The US company estimates that about 100 million households around the world use a shared Netflix password, almost half the number of paying customers in the most recent figures (232.5 million).

Netflix had long tolerated password sharing, but amid the rise in streaming rivals like Disney+, Apple TV+ and Max, the company is now more focused on profitability after years of chasing higher subscription numbers.

The crackdown on account sharing has been a long time coming, and Netflix tested it in several countries around the world before the international expansion now announced.

Netflix expects that the number of users will initially decrease with the action against free riders. In Canada, for example, there are now more paying users and higher revenues than before, the service recently emphasised.

The service felt its new policy was justified by this. Netflix has not yet commented on developments in other countries. On Tuesday, the start of the procedure in the important US market was also announced.

At €4.99 in European countries, the additional account is just as expensive as the cheapest Netflix subscription, which allows the service to be used with ads. The most expensive subscription with better picture and sound quality costs €17.99 or US$19.99 in the US a month.

 - dpa

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