Netflix account sharing is a practice as old as streaming itself, but the platform is continuing to clamp down on accounts that cover multiple households.
In recent months, Netflix has made moves that align its user policies closer to that of traditional TV.
A subscription now costs more than the TV license and new measures are being introduced to stop different households from sharing accounts.
To the peril of former flatmates and family members who are watching their pennies, a message that reads ‘If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching’ will now appear if you are using someone else’s account.
The move comes as part of a new test that aims to improve the security of users and it is not necessarily intended to remove viewers.
However, given the message that appears tells people they need their own account, encouraging new subscribers does seem to be part of the goal.
The message is currently part of a trial that aims to see if security can be toughened and possibly see if subscriptions can be increased.
A Netflix spokesperson told the BBC, ‘This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so.’
This new approach marks a stark difference from 2016 when during a webcast, Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings said, ‘Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids, so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is.’
The change in approach from Netflix comes as the company solidifies itself as a leader in the growing streaming market.
Netflix managed to gain 37 million new subscribers in 2020 and is set to reach 200 million subscribers soon.
However, enacting an account per household policy may enable continued growth for the company. By ensuring that each household has a subscription, the company will be able to maximise its profits and collect money from as many people as possible.
Safe to say, Twitter isn’t too happy about the policy that is being trialled.
Whether this trial will lead to a permanent change in policy remains to be seen.
However, it is clear that some users are worried about the changes and how they will impact the viewing habits of those close to them.
Many will hope that they can keep enjoying Netflix on their ex-house member’s account, but their days may be numbered.
Will you be losing your friends Netflix account?
Image via Alamy