Netflix plans to stop users from sharing passwords by end of March

According to a recent Netflix announcement in a letter to shareholders, the company plans to bar users from sharing passwords for free by the end of March of this year.

Netflix logo

Phillip Nieto for FOXBusiness:

Back in October, the streaming giant said it would begin charging subscribers who share their accounts but did not give a specific date or information for when the new policy would be enacted.

In a quarter four earnings report released late last week, Netflix revealed it would implement the paid sharing system across the platform in the latter portion of quarter one.

“Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” Netflix said in a letter to shareholders. While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their account more broadly.”

The company noted that the new policy would likely lead to “near term engagement” being “negatively impacted” as some users stop consuming content on the platform due to the loss of a free account.

MacDailyNews Take: Could lead to an uptick in Apple TV+ subscriptions as Apple’s streaming service is significantly more affordable ($6.99 per month) with a rapidly growing library of high quality TV series and films.

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  1. How would they enforce the policy? If people can pay for 2, 3, or 4 simultaneous streams, and if any one person can singularly own multiple devices, and if members of the same household who are entitled to share the same subscription, then how will Netflix be able to implement this policy?

      1. Eddy, a unique IP address is useless. If a member of my household accesses Netflix from their iPhone on our cellular carrier’s LTE or 5G network, each iPhone will have a different IP address. If a household member watches Netflix using their MacBook on vacation, in a hotel room, in the lunch room at work, or on any other public WiFi network, they will have a different IP address than the home router.

  2. It will probably causes Netflix to lose more subscribers in a quarter than ever before when they start this en-mass.

    They are going to more than likely disable accounts or do something that will leave some portion of their primary subscriber without access to Netflix, without having to jump through some hoops to prove who you are to get logged back in. And most I would assume many are not going to like that at all..

    They already have some of the highest prices out there, not sure how they think this will help the bottomline…

    1. Unless the main subscriber unsubscribes, I doubt there will be much negative change to the bottomline since those that were using it ‘shared’ were using it for no extra cost.
      Also I don’t understand MDN’s reasoning of increasing subscribers for Apple TV+ due to this since that would mean those users losing access ponying up $6.99 after having paid nothing for using Netflix.

  3. I thought Netflix limited you to using no more than two screens at a time.
    If that is true, I suspect that giving out your password only hurts you because you won’t be able to use Netflix at times even though you are paying for it.

    1. Hey Some Dude, Netflix has 3 levels of membership: Basic, Standard and Premium. It says right on their website “Only people who live with you may use your account. Watch on 4 different devices at the same time with Premium, 2 with Standard and 1 with Basic or Basic with ads.” I pay for Premium, so I’m entitled to 4 streams at a time. Four people live in my house, so each of us is entitled to watch Netflix on our own device simultaneously. It’s what I pay for. But between the four of us, we have 3 TVs, 4 iPhones, 4 Macs, 1 Windows laptop, 2 Apple TVs and 1 Roku. One of the guys is on vacation visiting his family in Nicaragua for 7 weeks, and another one is going to visit his family in El Salvador in February. Just because we have multiple devices and travel makes me wonder how will Netflix enforce their policy. How will they distinguish legitimate account usage from illegitimate account usage?

      1. i also pay premium that allows more than four devices using at the same time. So this was counted as nine subscriber but discounted as to membership count. The plan is good for advertisers since the nine can watch their ads on just one membership.
        Just think of the exponential possibility. Forward idea please. The could a Nielsen monitor to see how many people watches thru the member driven one account.

  4. I’ve posted two comments to this thread. They were moderated. The moderator doesn’t send me an email saying why my comments may not be published. I would like to participate in the conversation, but I guess I am not welcome. Not sure why. I don’t comment often, but I have been a participant here for at least 15 years. I don’t know why they have suddenly declared me persona non grata. Oh well.

    1. Hello,

      We found an issue that was flagging a common word that appeared in your comments sent to moderation. It has now been fixed.

      Thank you for calling it to our attention!

  5. Well, we’ve yet to see how they would enforce this. Currently I pay for Premium too, and we have three profiles set up on our account. My daughter watches more Netflix than my wife or I do, and she travels a bit for work. Geographic tracking can’t work, because if she is blocked simply for being on a business trip, then we will cancel our account. Plus, on vacation we take our AppleTV box with us wherever we go so we aren’t trying to watch our stuff on an iPad. Kill that access, we cancel.


    Don’t worry, Netflix will do just fine. Leeches will pay or go without, that’s the way all the large media distribution companies are moving. Netflix, like Apple and other streaming outfits, uses not only account access control but also sophisticated info monitoring to keep tabs on users — much more than revealed in this Forbes article. It is approximately one google times more effective at content moderation and user management than this site. Not sure why this would be considered news.

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