Users May Have to Pay to Share Netflix Passwords
After years of openly declaring that it didn’t mind customers sharing their passwords with others, Netflix began hinting a couple of years ago that it was re-evaluating that posture.
On March 16, the company announced that some markets would soon begin requiring members to pay to either add an extra member to their account or transfer their profile to a different account. The change will first roll out in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru.
"We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our Standard and Premium plans,” Netflix said in a blog post. “While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, accounts are being shared between households - impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members.”
Over the years, it’s become something of a cliché for Netflix users to share their passwords. But how many such customers were doing so? A new survey looks at that question. The survey is part of a larger release called Internet-Delivered Pay-TV Services 2022. According to the Leichtman Research Group, Inc., 64 percent of Netflix users “fully pay for the service and do not share it with others outside the household.” Meanwhile, 33 percent of Netflix services are used in multiple households.
Of those, 15 percent are “used and paid for by those that also share them with someone outside the household,” while another 15 percent are used in one household and borrowed from another that is paying. Just three percent are used by households that split payments.
The survey also found that more than a third of adults aged 18-34 have at least one direct-to-consumer service that is “fully paid for by someone else.” There were also some questions in the survey about streaming services and customer satisfaction. Nearly two-thirds of subscribers, 65 percent, are ages 18-44, while 79 percent of subscribers to such services are “are very satisfied with their service.” a number that has steadily increased since 2018.
“Password sharing is an inherent feature of most streaming services. Sharing helps to expand the user base and retain customers, but it also creates a gap between the number of households that have a service and actual paying subscribers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president, and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., in the release. “For example, about two-thirds of U.S. households report having Netflix, but this includes about 10% of U.S. households that don’t pay for the service because it is borrowed from someone else’s subscription.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.