Netflix Launches Crackdown On Password Sharing.
Netflix has launched a crackdown on password sharing, leading to fears that the days of joint accounts could be over. Users who previously were sharing someone else’s account will now see a screen that tells them they might need to buy their own account.
In some circumstances, it asks them to confirm they know the account holder, by verifying through a code- looks like the free streaming trip is finally over!
The new change – which is so far only being seen by some selected users, and has been confirmed by Netflix to be a “test” – is a nudge designed to make people sign up for their account. Users report seeing a screen saying, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching”.
It then directs them to the option to confirm they do indeed know the owner through a verification system. That will send an email or text to the person registered as the owner of the account so that they or the person watching can put it in.
It also offers some people a free trial for a month, so they can sign up themselves. That is despite the fact that Netflix no longer actually offers its free trials generally, bringing them to an end in favour of other ways of encouraging people to sign up.
All of this can, however, be skipped – at least for now. It is possible to bypass the prompt without doing any of the verification or confirming that you are the account’s owner.
A financial analyst asked Netflix executives during a recent earnings call whether the company was “tightening the screws” on account sharing. In response, they said Netflix was merely conducting a routine test to keep strangers out of people’s accounts.
“We will test many things, but we would never roll something out that feels like turning the screws,” Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said during the call.
Hastings went on to imply that a crackdown on password sharing would put off too many legitimate users, who willingly share their accounts with family members. Hence, the company’s tests to stop strangers from accessing accounts will remain targeted, rather than pervasive.
“It’s got to feel like it makes sense to consumers that they (the users) understand,” he said. “And Greg (Netflix’s chief product officer) has been doing a lot of great research on…how to try variants that harmonize with the way consumers think about it.”
That said, Netflix may be facing slowing user growth. During this year’s first quarter, the company only added 4 million paid subscribers, down from the 15 million it gained a year ago. However, Netflix points out that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic likely drove unprecedented user growth to the service last year.
Source: Business Insider