Why Can’t I Share Netflix Passwords?

Why Can’t I Share Netflix Passwords?

Welcome back to Ask Giz, our fortnightly series where we answer your burning questions from all over the tech and science world.

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Today’s question comes from Claire in Frankston. Claire wants to know: Why can’t I share Netflix passwords?

Let’s dive right in.

Why can’t I share Netflix passwords?

So let’s start by addressing Netflix’s efforts to stop out-of-house password sharing: Netflix hasn’t rolled out its password-sharing crackdown to Australia just yet. At the moment, a trial for the crackdown is being conducted in Portugal, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand, after a separate trial was performed in Latin American countries.

Even though Netflix was once happy that its users were sharing passwords with their loved ones, the tune has certainly changed. This is likely because Netflix is simply not making any money off the additional users that have had accounts shared with them, so making it harder to share content among friends and family members, theoretically, leads to greater revenue (as more users will theoretically pay for separate accounts as a result). It’s also worth noting that competition has increased for Netflix in recent years and that subscriber numbers have dropped.

That’s the theory of why Netflix isn’t letting its users share passwords, but what’s actually preventing this from happening? Well, as we said, the earlier-mentioned crackdown hasn’t made its way to Australia just yet. Currently, in Australia, Netflix uses prompts (like phone and email verification) to crack down on account sharing when an account is accessed outside of a household or persistently accessed from a location outside of the household, but obviously, this isn’t a foolproof solution and can be overcome quite easily through some coordination with the friend or family member who operates the account (not that we endorse this).

But how might this be different in countries where the trial is operating? Firstly, users need to set a primary location for the account. A new ‘Managing Access and Devices’ page will let users control who and what devices have account access.

Users will still be able to use their Netflix accounts when travelling, such as in hotel rooms, according to the Netflix blog post, however, the account needs to log in at the primary location every 31 days, otherwise, access outside of that location is restricted.

If you’re sharing your account with people outside of your household, you can ‘buy’ extra members that don’t live at the primary location. Standard plans have one extra member purchase available, while premium users can add two extra members. These cost an extra $NZD7.99, which converts to about $7.44 in Australia (we obviously don’t have exact pricing in Australia just yet, nor do we know if the pricing tier will even exist and for that price). Account users can transfer their profiles to other accounts if migrating to another household, saving your list, history, and recommendations. Interestingly, using these extra member plans can actually save users some money, as a viable option instead of friends and family members paying full price for multiple accounts.

Physically, the preventions in place to stop Netflix account sharing will be improving in the future. Netflix doesn’t want users sharing accounts widely because, obviously, it’s a business that needs to make money.

Sharer Beware

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