No more sharing accounts with friends, parents, etc. Netflix has put the kibosh on this practice, announcing that users in the United States, France, and a hundred countries must now pay extra to share access codes with someone outside the home.
Update on this change of course from the streaming giant.
1- Why is the group ending account sharing?
While facing a real stock market storm, the American group, which has more than 232 million subscribers worldwide, announced pword restrictions last year.
As long as growth was there, the Los Gatos company turned a blind eye to account sharing, which contributed to its notoriety. But, in the first quarter of 2022, the streaming veteran had lost subscribers, unheard of for more than ten years. In the process, he announced that he was going to seriously concern himself with the practice of account sharing.
A far from marginal phenomenon: “More than 100 million households share their account, which affects our ability to invest in major films and television series,” Netflix recalled a few weeks ago in a press release.
In fact, at the beginning of 2022, the company had thus announced tests in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru to charge its customers for pword sharing outside their homes. It had also set it up in Canada, Spain, Portugal, among others, more recently.
2- Does Netflix risk losing users?
This is the big risk, as competition in streaming is fierce with the rise of Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, etc. In Spain, Netflix had tried the experiment at the beginning of the year… Not necessarily with success at the start. It reportedly lost over a million users in the country in the first three months of 2023, according to market research firm Kantar, quoted by Bloomberg.
According to the study, which was based on surveys of household streaming habits, two-thirds of users were using someone else’s pword.
However, the group wanted to be reuring on this point. While he neither confirms nor denies Kantar’s figures, he does point out that even if there are losses at the start, people come back. “At the beginning, there are cancellations. And then people who were using borrowed credentials create their own accounts and add profiles, and we regain ground in terms of subscriptions and revenue,” said Greg Peters, the company’s co-CEO, during a briefing. conference with analysts, reports AFP. The pword sharing restriction strategy had been delayed, but the tests and deployments in Latin America and more recently in Canada have been conclusive.
The implementation of this new policy in some countries “seems to be working”, according to Deutsche Bank analysts in an April note. “We view paid sharing as an opportunity to better monetize existing engagement,” Morgan Stanley added, also in April.
3- How will Netflix concretely verify? What about viewing in transport?
On its site, the group explains: “A Netflix account is intended to be used by members of the same household. Anyone living in this household can watch Netflix anywhere, whether at home, on the go or on vacation, and take advantage of new features like profile transfer and access and device management.
Concretely, Netflix looks at two parameters, explains a spokesperson for the group: the Internet network of the home and all the devices which connect to it on a “regular basis”. Even if the group does not specify the notion of regular, what is done in Spain, namely a connection at least once a month, is a good benchmark.
In fact, the user and the members of his household will therefore be able to continue to watch series and entertainment on their smartphones, tablets and PCs, outside the home (in transport, with friends, in holiday accommodation, etc.), as long as they also connect these same devices regularly to their home WiFi.
A relatively limited use, however, since according to Netflix, around 70% of viewing is done on television.
4- What about viewing in your second home? Children in alternating residence?
It will be possible to watch Netflix in his second home, on the television screen: the group has planned for this scenario from the moment a user goes to his country house on a recurring basis. If he has not been there for a long time, he will have to confirm his identity, after receiving a notification on his phone (or his computer).
Similarly, for hotels or holiday accommodation (rented houses etc.), it will be the same principle: he can connect to the television screen or the PC of his holiday location, after confirming his identity again via his smartphone. For longer stays, the user will be able to notify Netflix and change their address, to take advantage of their subscription from another location.
Another question concerns children living in alternating residence, with divorced parents: they will be able to continue to watch cartoons and series, on their own devices (smartphones, tablets, PC) from the moment these devices are connected regularly. to the Wifi of the parent who holds the subscription. On the other hand, it is not possible to watch a film on the television of the other parent who does not pay Netflix…
5- Can we still share our accounts?
Yes, it is possible to add a guest outside the household, by paying 5.99 euros more to share their account. But this will only be possible with the standard offer (13.49 euros) or premium (17.99 euros), not with the Essential offer (8.99 euros). In fact, Netflix will therefore cost more (almost 20 euros), if we were used to sharing our accounts.
The user who “borrows” a code can also decide to subscribe directly and benefit from a “profile transfer” which allows them to keep their viewing preferences. The first price of the offer with advertising – launched late last year – starts at 5.99 euros. It is besides all the stake of Netflix to conquer by there new subscribers.
However, it will also always be possible to “fraud” on a small scale, especially with a person who regularly comes to your home…