The Netflix password-sharing crackdown is finally rolling out across the globe, but it's being referred to it more as an 'innovation.' Or at least that's how the streaming giant is classifying the news in a blog post shared today (May 23) on its About page.
In the post, titled "Update on Sharing," posted for the US, UK and Australian markets, Netflix reiterated its anti-sharing stance that "A Netflix account is for use by one household." It then revealed that account sharing will cost $8 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 per additional household. This follows months of testing in select markets, including Canada where pricing was CAD$7.99 (around $6) per additional household.
Included in Netflix's post is the letter it will be sending out to customers who have been breaking these new rules. That email begins by re-iterating that Netflix accounts are only meant to be shared with "the people you live with" in "your household," and that you can continue to use Netflix "on the go and when you travel," either on "personal devices or a TV at a hotel or vacation home."
It then explains that you'll be able to revoke access by device on your account, and offers two options for those who share accounts. You can either start a new account with a profile by transferring your Netflix profile or buy an extra member — for $7.99 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 per month.
This makes it seem like extra households will cost the same no matter what plan you're on. Previously, details shared by Netflix stated that only Standard ($15.49 / £10.99 / AU$16.99 per month) and Premium ($19.99 / £15.99 / AU$22.99 per month) customers will get this option, which is more expensive than a Netflix Basic with ads subscription.
To try and defend this action, Netflix states that it is "invest[ing] heavily in a wide variety of new films and TV shows" — essentially asking users to stop stealing so it can make more stuff.
Analysis: Netflix flexes its muscles in the streaming war
In a world of increased competition, Netflix saw rival after rival pop up, and each gain subscribers. I'd wager that some Netflix executives saw customers able to afford the likes of Peacock (starting at $5 per month) and thought, "Wait, we should be getting that money, we make more than them.
Trying to figure out what you can do? Well, the best VPNs can do a lot of things, but they can't make it seem like your streaming device is inside a specific household. That means those sharing their account can do one of four things:
Steal in a different way: Tom's Guide doesn't endorse piracy, but in the minutes after sharing this news with friends, I immediately heard word about how easy it is pirate Netflix originals on the internet. Clearly Netflix's digital rights management (DRM) isn't as strong as it would like.
Pay up: At $8 in the US, the price of sharing your password to an additional user is a buck more than Apple TV Plus' monthly price, and is cheaper than buying a second Standard or Premium account. As a friend just told me "I have no choice, my kids like Netflix."
Cancel Netflix: I do this all the time. It's called 'churn' in the industry, because I cancel with plans to come back.
Splinter their accounts: Some account-sharers probably have a lopsided usage of the service, where one side doesn't use Netflix as much as the other. They split the bill, and it's worth it. Once given an ultimatum, US subscribers will now consider a bill of around $11.73 or $23.99 per half (if not less if they split it among more households). If that's too much, the side that values Netflix may just decide to transfer their profile out, and let the other delete their profile.
For everyone who doesn't see Netflix on par with utilities like running water, this war on password-sharing will have them considering canceling. Stay tuned to Tom's Guide to help figure out if Netflix's June 2023 lineup is worth the extra cash.
I guess Netflix doesn't believe in love anymore. Unless it's blind, and its live stream doesn't air on time.