Netflix will start charging US customers for sharing account passwords
The crackdown has arrivedBy Rob Thubron 10 comments
A hot potato: The time that many of us have been dreading is here: the days of being able to share your Netflix password with friends and family freely are over. The streaming giant is informing customers in the US that they will either have to stop others from using their account or pay $7.99 per month for an additional membership for someone outside the main household.
Netflix has been working on a way to crack down on password-sharing for a while now. It's a practice that a third of all US subscribers engage in, and now Netflix will charge those who do it.
In an email sent out to all US subscribers, Netflix writes that its accounts are for single households only. It states that if you want to share Netflix with someone outside of your home, you can use the profile transfer tool it rolled out last year so the sharer can pay for their own membership.
Alternatively, those with the $15.49 per month Netflix Standard plan can add one extra member who can use Netflix outside of their household for $7.99 per month. Subscribers to the $19.99 4K Premium plan can add up to two non-household members, but each one costs $7.99. UK customers can add extra subscribers for £4.99 each.
Importantly, those Netflix customers on the $9.99 Basic or $6.99 Standard with Ads tiers can't add non-household member slots to their plans.
Extra members will enjoy a lot of the same benefits as other regular customers, including their own profile, account, and password. They also get the same streaming quality as the person who invited them.
Some of the key differences between extra member accounts and typical member accounts include the former only being able to watch Netflix on one device at a time (any device), download titles to one phone or tablet at a time, and being unable to create additional profiles or log in as a Kids profile. Also, extra members must activate their account in the same country as the person who is paying for it.
Netflix says it uses information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device signed into an account is part of a Netflix household.
Like other streaming services, Netflix had at one time turned a blind eye to password sharing; it was even encouraging the practice as late as 2017. But its view dimmed following the company's first loss of subscribers in a decade at the start of 2022, a decline it blamed on password sharers.
Netflix previously experimented with charging subscribers to add extra homes in some South American countries before expanding to Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain earlier this year. More than one million Spanish users left the service due to the new rules, though Netflix said the decline was only temporary before users got their own accounts.