Student Opinion: Netflix’s New Password Policy Does Not Bother Me

By: Rodrigo Villegas

Netflix has gradually implemented its new password policy in certain countries like Canada, New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal. The United States is now the next country to experience the password crackdown

 

On Tuesday of last week, Netflix started notifying U.S. subscribers who shared their accounts with people outside of their household, of the new policy. 

 

The new policy stems from an announcement Netflix made in April 2022 where they disclosed that they lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade. Furthermore, they revealed before that more than 100 million subscribers worldwide use Netflix through password sharing. Therefore, in an effort to increase revenue, the company began its password crackdown. 

 

To enforce the new policy, Netflix will use information like IP address, device IDs, and account activity to learn if a device is part of a “Netflix household” — those who are using the same internet connection. (They emphasized that GPS data from users will not be collected.) And only users under a Netflix household will be able to log into the account. 

 

Those currently borrowing a Netflix password will receive a notice informing them of how to create a new account when they log in. However, households can pay an additional 7.99 dollars per person for others to use their account. 

 

Many Netflix subscribers have expressed their discontent with this policy, especially after many years of the company supporting the sharing of passwords. After all, Netflix tweeted in 2017, “Love is sharing a password.” 

 

For Netflix users, especially those borrowing a Netflix password (which includes me), the company’s shift in attitude toward password sharing is incredibly frustrating. 

 

However, back in 2017, Netflix had little to no competition so they could afford to allow password sharing. Now, there are many streaming services — Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and more — with a variety of different content, all vying for customers. (Has anyone stopped to consider that there might be too many options now?) Letting users continue to share their passwords is likely not an economically viable option anymore. While this news does upset me, unfortunately, I do not entirely disagree with the decision. 

 

From a business perspective, I understand the want to crack down on password sharing. As mentioned earlier, Netflix shared that over 100 million users access Netflix through password sharing. I can’t begin to imagine how much revenue they lost because of that. 

 

Cheapskates like me were essentially stealing from the company. (Though, was it really stealing if they initially encouraged it?)

 

Yet, after taking some time to mull it over and reflecting on how much I actually use Netflix, the decision does not bother me too much. I have used a family member’s account for several years now, but I only used it occasionally to binge a show or watch a movie that caught my eye. 

 

These days, I find myself using Netflix less. Whether it’s because I don’t have time, or because most of its catalog just does not interest me, I can live without it. 

 

In the grand scheme of things, I don’t disagree with the decision. And as a user, I’m not too upset by it. This decision can turn out favorable for Netflix. In countries with the policy already in place (Canada, New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal), the company initially saw discontent, which was followed by an increase in new accounts and revenue. 

 

In Canada, Netflix reported that “our paid membership base is now larger than prior to the launch of paid sharing and revenue growth has accelerated and is now growing faster than in the U.S.”

 

IMAGE: https://www.trustedreviews.com/how-to/change-the-language-on-netflix-4287601

 

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