We all know the memes about Netflix and the amount of paid user accounts versus actual users. The numbers will shock you. 100 million viewers sit back and stream their favorite shows without paying a cent towards the streaming service. Suppose you actually take the lost sales revenue here into account. In that case, you can understand why the service provider has made the decision to cut back on password sharing and hold viewers accountable.
The company saw a massive boom at the start of COVID-19, where millions of users were forced to quarantine at home. But this didn’t last. 2022 saw a mass exodus as users returned to work, shaking earnings. Shareholders saw massive dips in subscriptions and as one can imagine, plans needed to be made.
It’s just business after all and password sharing makes no financial sense
The Netflix team is obviously handling this entire rollout very carefully as they risk tremendous backlash from viewers and subscribers alike. Co-CEO Reed Hastings told senior executives at a company gathering that password sharing had been allowed for too long. He also said that the pandemic only masked the true extent of the problem.
What does this mean for those 100 million currently benefiting from password sharing? They risk losing access to their favorite shows if they do not sign up themselves. A triggering but necessary over on Netflix’s part to ensure continuity of the same service we have come to expect. The exact policy and how it will roll out remains unclear at this stage, but it looks like the company has a few ideas in mind.
Tracking your IP address to prevent password sharing
One of the possible methods of crackdown includes tracking IP addresses and shutting down password sharing from there. They will offer an option to those subscribers to pay an additional fee to share their password. They have trialed this in South America, charging an additional $3 to $4 a month to have a second ‘home address’ but later shut down the idea. There was talk of validation codes when logging in and the option to add a second user.
“Love is sharing a password”
In 2017, the company tweeted that “love is sharing a password.” They are now aware that consumers may not take the change of decision lightly. “Make no mistake, I don’t think consumers are going to love it right out of the gate,” Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in his discussion with investors this month. He also put the company in the spotlight, saying that Netflix as a brand needs to show users the value in the move.
Packages for everyone
Netflix has also offered an ad-based version/package to users in a bid to offer more flexibility. The reduced subscription of $6.99 looks appealing to many who may not have wanted to subscribe at a higher fee. The deal looks sweet compared to competitors like Hulu, who offer a similar option at $7.99 a month. This strategy so far doesn’t seem like much of a saving grace, as the regular subscription fee is still a much more popular choice.
So we’ll have to toughen up if we want to continue having access to great shows like Stranger Things and Wednesday. After all, good shows take money to produce, and it’s only fair that Netflix asks us to support them where it counts. With a minimal fee that ensures always-on streaming of quality content at our fingertips.
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- “Netflix to End Password Sharing in 2023.” Collider. Makouchi Echebiri. December 23, 2022.
- “Netflix Password Sharing Alert—New Crackdown Starts In 2023.” Forbes. Kate O’Flaherty. December 22, 2022.