It arrived. Five years after tweeting “to love someone is to share a password”, and after a year of threats – Netflix has officially started to restrict the sharing of passwords by users in several countries.
Want to share the account? Pay more
Netflix announced tonight some of the first steps it intends to take – to try and stop the phenomenon of password sharing. And hopefully also earn new subscribers. As part of the new policy, users will have to pre-define their main location – the one where most of the content is streamed from Netflix. The goal, of course, is to let only household members use the account and make sure you don’t share the password with people in other homes, other cities, or even other countries. In the first phase, the rules will apply to tens of millions of the company’s users in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
But not just a stick. Netflix will offer users in these countries – who subscribe to one of its two more expensive plans (Standard and Premium) – to purchase a subscription for additional users, who do not necessarily live with them, an addition to the subscription at a lower price. The Standard subscribers will be able to purchase one additional subscription on top of the account, and the Premium subscribers will be able to purchase two additional subscriptions. According to the company’s announcement, the price of each such subscription will increase between NIS 15-22 (converted from the prices in each country that Netflix introduced). Not a bad deal compared to creating a separate account that will cost more and offer users less (mainly lower quality viewing).
The celebration is over
In its announcement, Netflix did not comment on the information that surfaced last week on its support pages in the US and several other markets, according to which Netflix will use IP addresses, the physical ID of the devices and other activities in the account, to identify whether the account owner and the other partners in it are connected from the same household. On the other hand , Netflix clarified that despite the requirement to indicate what your main location is in the account, this will not prevent you from continuing to stream content even when you are on a train, plane or Airbnb that looks better in pictures than in real life at the next tourist destination you will arrive at.
This ties in well with the information presented last week, where Netflix clarified how it actually enforces the matter: the wireless network you’re connected to at home, specifically through the Netflix app on your TV. In order for Netflix to recognize that you are indeed part of the house, you will have to connect to Wi-Fi in the main house and watch something on Netflix at least once every 31 days – which will make Netflix confirm that it is a device that is part of that household and turn it into a Trusted Device. And so the system will not block you when you go on a short trip. If you are on the bill for your parents and you feel like some episode of Rick and Morty after three months in some guesthouse in Goa, it might not work for you.
The changes, as mentioned, are valid in the first stage for five markets. But it is important to note that Canada, one of the company’s strongest markets, is already included in the new restrictions, which indicates the seriousness of the company’s intentions.