You are currently viewing Is Netflix really putting an end to password-sharing?

On 23rd May 2023, Netflix announced to its French subscribers the end of the account-sharing phenomenon. The majority of Netflix subscribers had signed up for the “Premium” offer, a €19/month package enabling them to watch content on four screens simultaneously. Sharing the same account with family and friends was therefore widespread. In fact, the Netflix marketing team had regularly highlighted (and indirectly validated) this practice, notably through the infamous tweet “love is sharing a password”.[1]

Alas, love isn’t enough today to hope to continue squatting on the account of someone close to you. As of now, only individuals residing in the same household (understand “living under the same roof” or “via the same Wi-Fi network”) can connect to the same account without paying additional fees. These restrictions, already tested in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain, have been in force in over a hundred countries since last Tuesday.

How will Netflix monitor compliance with the “one account, one home” rule?

The U.S. streaming giant intends to use three criteria to verify that users of the same account actually access it from the associated household: the IP address, the device ID and the account activity. Even if they say so, it’s hard to believe that no location data is collected.

The owners of the account will be able to determine the people in the household from the family’s smart TV. Subscribers without televisions are less fortunate, as Netflix will automatically configure their “homes”. Household members on the move need not worry: they only need to connect at least once a month from home to avoid being automatically disconnected.

Netflix also offers another solution to enable “distant” people to be connected to the account’s home: paying! This new measure is infuriating many users, and rightly so: they’ll have to pay an extra 5 euros per external user. A monthly subscription could therefore easily cost more than 30 euros, a very high price compared to rival Amazon Prime’s €6.99 offer.

Netflix’s solution: a risky and contested gamble

As previously mentioned, the platform had already implemented such restrictions in Spain. The result was swift, with over a million people unsubscribing within a few days. The same thing is likely to happen in the next few days, this time on a global scale. Its competitors are also benefiting from this change, with Amazon Prime gaining a significant number of subscribers on the day of the announcement.

In an attempt to get their subscribers to accept this rather sad news, Netflix wants to justify that by claiming that the password-sharing phenomenon represented a significant shortfall for the company. The platform expects higher financial returns with this change, which should allow them to offer more diverse and qualitative content. Will there still be as many subscribers to watch it? Hard to say.


Sources :

[1] Netflix sur Twitter : “Love is sharing a password.” / Twitter

A propos de Anne Boutin