The streaming service Netflix has recently lost subscribers, and forecasts predict an even more significant loss of customers in the coming months. As a result, plans have been developed to cut costs, increase revenue and make the service more attractive.
An essential part of this plan is to get money from all those Netflix users who have been using the streaming service for free for years. Account sharing is a thorn in Netflix’s side because the multiple profiles per subscription are only supposed to be used by family members in the same household, not friends or relatives scattered around the world. In 2019, Netflix wanted to crack down on just one account being paid for but used by different people. But then came Corona, and with the pandemic, many new subscribers.
Now that many users have cancelled their accounts again because they’re home less than they were during the pandemic, Netflix is getting serious. According to a Wall Street Journal report, 2023 will be the year Netflix puts an end to the practice or pays extra for it. According to the report, 100 million people use the video streaming service with borrowed passwords and without paying. In the U.S., the company plans to crack down on password sharing as early as 2023, it says. Other countries – including Europe – are to follow. In the long run, Netflix assumes it will pay off to take action against password sharing – even if the online streaming service loses users because streaming is no longer profitable for them.
Control for IP addresses
Will Netflix be able to control this at all in the future? One way is to manage IP addresses, device IDs and account activity. For example, if a streaming subscription is regularly accessed from two different locations and devices, this could indicate account sharing outside of one’s residence. However, streaming outside of one’s home, such as when travelling, is officially allowed – this would pose problems for Netflix.
Extra money for dual use
But even if Netflix can detect via technical queries that an account is being used more than once, the question remains as to what Netflix will do about it. One possibility would be to charge extra money for the double use of the account. Another option would be to make password sharing technically more difficult so that it becomes unattractive.
There is a pilot project in South America. There, they are testing what happens when warnings are issued. Account owners are also sent a code to enter when someone logs in from their account and wants to stream. If the code is not entered within 15 minutes, that person cannot stream.
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