For as long as there’s been Netflix, users have shared their passwords with others. So many people still use the accounts of their former romantic partners, in fact, that it’s become something of a cliché.
The people running Netflix have said conflicting things over the years over whether they approve of password-sharing. In 2016, CEO Reed Hastings said during a CES speech, per CNET, that “we love people sharing Netflix,” and that “that’s a positive thing, not a negative thing.”
However, those comments came at a much earlier time in the streaming revolution when there was much less competition from rival services. And last year, as pointed out by Inc., Netflix signed on as a charter member of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a consortium of major entertainment studios that lists “improper password sharing” as one of its primary concerns. Meanwhile, also in 2019, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters said on an earning call that, per FilmDaily, “we are looking at consumer-friendly ways to push back at the edges of password-sharing.”
A recent survey by KillTheCableBill found that more than half of those asked share their Netflix password with someone outside of their home.
When asked by the site whether they share their passwords, 47.5 percent said no, while those answering yes were more than 50 percent. Of the “yes” votes, 17.7 precent said they have given their password to a friend, 9.2 percent said they have given it to their child who no longer lives at home, and a full 25.6 percent said they gave to a family member not in their immediate family.
In light of Netflix’s recent announcement of price hikes, KillTheCableBill also asked whether customers plan to adjust their Netflix subscriptions. More than half said they would not change their subscription, while just 6 percent said they plan to actually cancel, and 25.7 percent said they were “considering” cancelling. Another 13.8 percent said they “probably will downgrade to a lower subscription tier.”
The site also asked users their biggest complaints about Netflix. More than a third answered “the price going up,” while other answers included the loss of “The Office” and other shows and Netflix cancelling popular original shows. Also, in the survey, 18.2 precent said they don’t have any complains about their service.
In its third quarter earnings, announced last week, the company reported that it earned $6.44 billion, a jump of 22.7 percent over the same period the year before. The company added 2.2 million subscribers in the third quarter, which was considerably fewer than it added in the first two quarters of the year.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to 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.