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In brief: Nearly one in three US-based Netflix subscribers share account login credentials between households. The data, from an online survey of 4,400 US households conducted by Leichtman Research Group, reveals that 64 percent of Netflix subscribers pay for the service and do not share it with others outside their household. The remaining 33 percent participate in some form of sharing.
Netflix is well aware that lots of subscribers share their accounts with others. Earlier this month, the streaming giant said it will soon be testing features design to help sharers do so easily, securely and fairly.
At the forefront is the "add an extra member" option, which as the name suggests, will allow account holders to add up to two sub accounts for people that don't live under the same roof. Each sub account will have its own profile, recommendations and login credentials, Netflix said.
The trial is expected to start in the coming weeks in Chile, Peru and Costa Rica.
Netflix in its most recent earnings report said it had 222 million paying subscribers worldwide. The company no longer breaks down its US subscriber count, but estimates suggest Netflix has around 75 million subscribers across the US and Canada. If even a small fraction of these users are sharing accounts with others, it results in the potential loss of millions of dollars – money that Netflix could use to finance even more original content.
Consider this: if everyone paid their fair share, we likely wouldn't see price hikes nearly as often. Viewed through this lens, one could argue that existing account holders who share their credentials with others are a primary driver of price increases that directly impact their own wallets.