Netflix's password sharing crackdown: Here's what you need to know trends now
In an effort to boost its dwindling fortunes, Netflix is finally cracking down on password sharing and forcing streaming 'freeloaders' to part with their money.
Under new rules, people watching Netflix using someone else's account will have to create their own logins and pay for their own accounts as soon as March.
Alternatively, those who still want to share an account with people in a different home will have to sign up to 'paid sharing' at a cost of a few extra pounds a month.
Here's everything you need to know about the password sharing crackdown at Netflix, including how it will work and when it will be enforced.
Netflix will finally ban password sharing and stop 'freeloaders' from being able to access the platform for free through someone else's account
Q4 2022: Gained 7.7 million
Q3 2022: Gained 2.4 million
Q2 2022: Lost 970,000
Q1 2022: Lost 200,000
Q4 2021: Gained 8.3 million
Q3 2021: Gained 4.4 million
Q2 2021: Gained 1.5 million
WHAT IS PASSWORD SHARING?
Password sharing is a habit adopted by Netflix users of distributing their password to other people who live outside their household.
This lets these so called 'freeloaders' access their account, create their own profile and watch films and TV shows without paying a penny.
According to the Intellectual Property Office, password sharing on Netflix and other video streaming platforms breaks copyright law and is therefore illegal.
However, it is down to the companies themselves to take action through the courts if required – and there is no suggestion yet that Netflix would attempt to do so.
For years the Netflix terms of service has said users of an account must live in the same household, but its not taken any solid action until 2023.
'Today's widespread account sharing undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,' Netflix said in its letter to shareholders on January 19.
Netflix wants to make people with profiles on Netflix pay for their own account rather than 'freeloading' off someone else's (file photo)
WHY IS NETFLIX STOPPING PASSWORD SHARING?
Ultimately Netflix is banning password sharing because it wants more of our money, although the whole story is slightly more detailed.
On Netflix, a single account can host up to five 'profiles', each individually named and curated for a particular person.
Each person can enjoy customised features – such as algorithmically-powered viewing recommendations, viewing history and settings – on their profile.
Netflix originally designed this feature so that multiple members of a household, such as children, can enjoy content without having to start their own Netflix account and pay the monthly fee.
But until now there's been nothing to stop it being used across multiple homes, even though the Netflix terms of service have long said users of an account must live in the same household.
On Netflix, a single account can host up to five 'profiles', each individually named and curated for one person. Here, Anna is the account holder; the others are just profile holders
Security experts say password sharing can compromise your security.
Once you share your password with one person, it can potentially be shared to someone else who you don't know, and someone else again, creating a bigger risk of details being compromised each time.
Netflix accounts store personal details of the account holder, including email, phone number and payment details.
The best practice for Netflix users, therefore, is to change their password regularly and avoid sharing passwords.
According to research at security firm ESET, more than a quarter of people surveyed had willingly given away their passwords to someone else.
'This may not sound worrying when you know the other party with whom you are sharing the password - but what if they pass it on to someone without thinking?' said Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET.
'However, it is unrealistic to expect that people are going to stop sharing their accounts completely, so my advice would be to regularly change your passwords in order to flush out anyone who has gained access over the last year who shouldn't have.'
McAfee chief scientist Raj Samani called Netflix's move 'a good step forward in online safety' - although Netflix has not made it clear whether it's been motivated by internet security as opposed to profit.
In effect, it has meant that five people living under five different addresses can have their own profile under one account – in other words, five different people getting Netflix for the price of one.
According to Netflix, this act deprives it from a potential revenue source, and 'undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve our service'.
WHAT'S NETFLIX'S SOLUTION TO PASSWORD SHARING?
Throughout 2023, Netflix is going to roll out a new feature globally called 'paid sharing', which is