Netflix’s Password Sharing Crackdown Has Begun in Several Countries

Netflix’s Password Sharing Crackdown Has Begun in Several Countries

For the past year, Netflix has remained incredibly cagey about how its password sharing restrictions will shape out in the coming months. Now, new restrictions on accounts in several worldwide markets might offer a small fraction of a squinting glimpse into how the company plans to stop users from sharing a password with friends and family.

On Wednesday, Netflix announced it was introducing account sharing guidelines to four new markets, including Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain. Depending on where you live, Netflix users will have to spend $US5.94 ($8) ($US7.99 ($11) CAD) or $US5.04 ($7) ($US7.99 ($11) NZD) to add an extra member sub account. Those living in Portugal will need to spend $US4.27 ($6) (€3.99) while people in Spain are being charged an extra $US6.42 ($9) (€5.99) per additional account.

Only members on Standard or Premium plans can add additional accounts, while everyone else will be restricted. The blog post attributed to Netflix product innovation director Chengyi Long does not give much information about how this will all work. However, a spokesperson for the streaming giant said that the first time a user logs into their account in those countries, the system will walk through how to set up a primary “household,” which is defined as everyone using the same Wi-Fi or IP address as the main account holder.

The announcement leaves out any specifics for how any of these account sharing restrictions will actually work. Some users who are constantly on the move were especially concerned they would have to somehow reverify their account if they decided to go on the road or are constantly travelling. The blog post reads “Members can still easily watch Netflix on their personal devices or log into a new TV, like at a hotel or holiday rental,” but doesn’t offer any other details.

But the Netflix spokesperson told us that there shouldn’t be any problem for users taking their devices on the road. When asked if users will need to verify their accounts when travelling, the spokesperson said “in most cases,” current users will not need to sign in again, verify their account, or make any changes to their profiles.

Users can also boot select users off their Netflix account, and those supposed freeloaders can also transfer their user preferences into a new account.

Earlier this month, Netflix caused a kerfuffle online when it updated its Help Centre page to reference account sharing. The page was changed twice in two days, completely remixing how the company planned to restrict users from using an account outside the household.

A Netflix spokesperson told Gizmodo that the U.S. version of the help centre page was mistakenly updated, and that the earlier version was meant for Latin America before it was changed.

Then on Wednesday, Netflix again changed its page detailing what users can expect when they share an account. The new page contains a single paragraph reading:

“A Netflix account is meant to be shared in one household (people who live in the same location with the account owner). People who are not in your household will need to sign up for their own account to watch Netflix.”

Of course, on Tuesday the page was much different. As seen via the Wayback Machine, the old help page for the U.S. details how those who use an account “persistently” may need to reverify their device before they can access Netflix when using a device outside the main household. This verification process requires the main account holder to put in a code sent to their phone or email.

Netflix should be releasing an update about how password sharing will work in the U.S. in the next few months. So far, the company has not offered much or any specifics on when that will take place, how much it will cost, and what sort of account restrictions it will employ.

Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

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