New details are emerging about how Netflix plans to enforce its upcoming global crackdown on password sharing, which right now is live in just a few countries including Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.
One constant question through all this is how Netflix is going to prove who is account sharing and who is just traveling or staying in a second household. The methodology for checking appears to be…somewhat cumbersome.
On the FAQ pages for the regions where the password sharing crackdown is already live, Netflix explains you have to have a device “check in” at least once a month on the home network:
“To ensure that your devices are associated with your primary location, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days,” the company says on its support page.”
So, what this means in practice is that if you’re say, a college student using your parents’ Netflix plan, you would have travel home once a month, bring your laptop or tablet, “check in” on the Wifi and watch something on Netflix. If instead you’re using Netflix on a TV you can’t bring with you well, you’re out of luck, since that’s exactly what Netflix is trying to kill off.
As for traveling, the FAQ says that a temporary code can be given out for travel that will allow seven consecutive days of account access without being blocked. But obviously we are in a situation that has many complications, like longer trips, temporary moves, split households, etc. The system seems ripe to have accounts blocked that maybe shouldn’t be, and Netflix says if this happens, you will need to contact Netflix directly to get your device unblocked. I’m sure that’s an easy process…
Netflix claims 100 million people are password sharing on Netflix, and they want to convert at least some portion of those into active users with their own accounts or add-ons to existing ones. But with how clunky this sounds, it feels like you’re just going to see a whole lot of cancellations or switches to other services that do not have these kinds of systems in place. And a lot of annoyed customers who get frustrated with Netflix if X or Y device is blocked in X or Y location and they have to call Netflix tech support to sort it out. I wonder what they’re going to lose compared to what they think they’re going to gain.
But if this works? You may see all streaming services start to adopt this, as while they may not be saying it publicly like Netflix, none of them want people password sharing fundamentally. We’ll see what happens when this expands.
Follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.
Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.
In a move to clamp down on password sharing, streaming giant Netflix has announced a new policy that requires users to ‘check-in’ — or log in using their password — at least once every 30 days. The decision has come in response to the growing problem of people sharing their passwords with friends, family and strangers, which Netflix claims has led to a ‘significant’ increase in account sharing.
Password sharing has been a long-running problem for Netflix, and the company has faced pressure from investors to crack down. After experimenting with a number of different approaches, the company has settled on a system akin to hotel check-ins, where users are prompted to enter their password at least once a month to make sure that the account is being used by the intended subscriber.
In announcing the policy change, Netflix stated that the majority of users still abide by the policy of one Netflix account per person and applauded them for their dedication. The company also pointed out that the password check-ins are an extra step for its true subscribers, but one that will allow them to continue to enjoy the same quality streaming service.
The new policy is likely to have a significant impact on households that currently share passwords, as they will now all have to log in with their own accounts every month. Netflix does not appear to be making any changes to its prices for additional subscribers, which means that people will have to decide if it’s worth the extra cost to share an account.
An increasing number of streaming services are taking steps to stop password sharing, and while it’s understandable that they are trying to protect their profits, the question is whether such measures will be effective in the long term. It remains to be seen if the new policy change will be welcomed by Netflix users or whether they will begin to look for other streaming options.