Well, who didn’t see that coming? Users impacted by the Netflix password sharing crackdown have started to leave the service. We’ve known for some time that the company was looking to crack down on password sharing, but it seems, the process isn’t great.
As some background, the policy from Netflix defines a household as people the subscriber lives with. So, in theory, you can share a password with housemates if you’re in a share house, but not your immediate family. If you’re sharing a password — as many users are known to be — you can pay a nominal fee of a few dollars for up to two extra users. Undoubtedly, Netflix is expecting to lose users but with the increased revenue on the remaining accounts, up its profits.
The problem is, in the trial users have been receiving inconsistent messaging around the changes. Perhaps most interestingly, the feedback rest of world has received suggests the testing involves multiple ways of detecting password sharing:
The varied user experiences with notifications and charges suggest Netflix may be testing different versions of the rollout on different customers or has not fully defined the terms of the policy. “They may end up causing issues with their so-far loosely inferred definition of a household,” said Isabelle Charney, a researcher for Ampere Analysis.
The most obvious ways to control this is:
- By having users log in on the same within a specified time period
- Using a 2FA option to the primary account holders device
- Requiring some form of tracking to the user device
None of which will be popular with users, which is one of the reasons Netflix are testing in low income markets for them: Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru. Hopefully, if the trend of user loss is high enough, Netflix will abandon its plans to tighten up on password sharing.