een sneakily using your ex’s Netflix password and hoping no one finds out? Not for much longer …
It was announced yesterday that Netflix will launch a trial in which primary account holders will need to pay for users who are outside of their household. It will mean that, on top of the monthly subscription fee, there will be an additional charge for the use of your account by anyone who doesn’t live with you.
The test will launch in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru first, and will start over the next few weeks. Features will include ‘Add an extra member’, where account holders can ‘sub’ up to two people outside of their households for 2,380 Chilean Peso. Although there are no UK sub-account figures yet, this is equivalent to £ 2.26.
Another new feature is ‘Transfer Profile to a New Account’, encouraging anyone who was previously piggybacking to set up their own account but stay in control of specific info such as My List, viewing history, and personalized recommendation.
Given that the algorithm is such a large part of the Netflix user experience, this is likely to encourage many people, who had found themselves trapped in a but-I-can’t-abandon-my-shows corner, to finally make their own account.
“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account,” said Chengyi Long, Director of Product Innovation, in a Netflix blog post yesterday. But, she added, “accounts are being shared between households – impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members.”
Netflix is said to have around 222 million members worldwide and is still the largest US streaming platform. However, competitors are quickly catching up. At the end of 2021, Disney said it had 179 million total subscriptions from Disney +, ESPN + and Hulu. Amazon Prime Video is said to have more than 200 million members worldwide and said in its Q1 2021 Earning Release that 175 million of these Prime members had streamed shows and movies in the past year.
As this is just a trial, there are no confirmed further expansion dates yet. It’s also not entirely clear yet how Netflix will implement these new rules. For people illicitly using someone else’s login, will smart tech now alert them of the new requirements? Perhaps Netflix will change the passwords or notify account holders of piggy-back viewers? Now, that would be awkward …