Earlier this week, some Netflix subscribers began to notice that it might be a bit harder to “borrow” someone’s password.
In the prompt, customers are told that “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” In order to continue, they need to verify the account with a E-mail or Text Code, or create a new account with a 30-Day Free Trial.
We’ve heard the test right now is only on TV devices. A Netflix spokesperson told The Streamable, “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.” It isn’t clear if users in the test all need to be on the same IP address to be considered in the same household.
According to Netflix terms, an account can only be shared with members of your household: “The Netflix service and any content viewed through our service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”
Until now, Netflix has not done anything to police this except to set limits on simultaneous streaming. Their Basic plan ($8.99) allows streaming on a single device, while the Standard plan ($13.99) offers streaming on up to 2 devices, and the Premium plan ($17.99) on up to 4 devices. However, they don’t limit you on the number of devices a single account can be logged into.
There has been talk that companies will be become more aggressive on password sharing, as the industry becomes more mature.
In October 2019, Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said on the topic, “We continue to monitor it. So we’re looking at the situation (and look into) consumer friendly ways to push on the edges.” At the time, Peters said Netflix had “no big plans” to announce in terms of doing something different.
But at some point, this will likely change. Research firm Magid once measured that 35 percent of millennials share passwords for streaming. With Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, and Peacock all competing for subscribers — every additional sub just means more revenue for streaming services.