Netflix is taking its first steps to end account sharing, a practice that, until recently, the streaming platform had appeared to encourage. Shortly after reporting its third quarter results, which showed the company had gained 2.41 million new paid subscribers, Netflix announced it will start charging accounts for password sharing early next year.
Under the changes, only members of the same household can use the same Netflix account, a condition that is stated in the company’s terms of service. If Netflix detects that the account is being used by people who do not live in the same household (via the IP address, device identifiers and account activity), those users will be denied access. In order to watch Netflix, they will need to create their own accounts. If a person from the same household, who does have permission to access the account, connects from another network or from a device outside the home, they will be asked to verify their details to ensure that they are authorized users.
Netflix will not start charging customers until 2023, but measures to facilitate the change are already here. Netflix has rolled out a Profile Transfer feature to make it easier for a person on another customer’s account to create their own profile. This feature allows a user to migrate to a new account while preserving their information, such as their recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games and other settings. Payment information, however, will not be transferred, meaning the user must add their own details to the account. All profiles, excepting children’s profiles and PIN-protected profiles, can be transferred.
Ending illicit password sharing is a priority for Netflix, which claims the practice hurts business. It is not yet known how accounts will be charged for having non-household users. The streaming service has been testing an add-on fee for account sharing in several Latin American countries, including Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Under this option, password-sharing members can create sub-accounts if they want to pay to piggyback on another account.