Netflix crackdown could come at the expense of the streaming service

Netflix’s latest attempt to mitigate password sharing could have unintended consequences. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

For the 74.4 million U.S. residents who subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service, new policies designed to eliminate password sharing are making streaming a little less “chill.”

Since starting the streaming portion of its business in 2007, Netflix allowed a single account to be used in any home that held the password. Users paid extra for how many screens that could be active on one account at any time. The service’s new anti-password sharing policies now require customers to pay an extra $8 per month per household  Each account can only request two temporary passwords per month. This makes it harder for non-paying password holders to feign travel in order to gain access to streaming services.  

Current and former college students in their dorms and apartments are seeing no sort of relief from this policy. Recent graduates or current college students can no longer share the subscription their own families pay for unless they live under the same roof.  

“I just graduated and I’m busy with rent and work and now I have no access to my most commonly used subscription service,” said University of Central Oklahoma graduate Michaela Todd. “It’s my family’s account. “We are one ‘household.” It isn’t like the entire block is sharing the account with us.”

Viewers who pay for their own subscriptions and do not share logins will be unaffected. 

From the outside, it might seem like an obvious business move for Netflix in order to draw in more profit by creating more accounts and forcing more users to subscribe. However, this new policy could affect how current and future consumers feel about Netflix and its services moving forward. 

CNBC reports that since Netflix rolled out the new policy in late May, the company has seen a nearly 102% increase in sign-ups. This surpasses the spike Netflix saw at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The incentive has worked, but Netflix is experiencing other concerns, like competition from other streamers. Other streaming services such as Disney+, which carries huge franchises like the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes; and Max, which carries “Game of Thrones,” the “Harry Potter” films and the Zendaya-led series “Euphoria,” have given Netflix a run for their streaming money. With series like the concluding “Stranger Things” and the second season of “Squid Game” not coming fast enough for some viewers, and the current Writers Guild of America strike holding up production on scripted shows, it could get harder for Netflix to win over those new subscribers. 

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