Netflix Testing New Feature to Crack Down on Password Sharing

Netflix is testing a new policy with some customers, prompting certain users with a message to sign up for a separate account for their own if they aren’t watching with the subscriber. The new feature prevents users not authorized to use the account from accessing it.

The message reads- If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.

In the past history, Netflix has never considered much on password-sharing, but a new test suggests the company may be reconsidering.

According to a spokesman of the company, “Netflix tries hundreds of tests a year with select customers. This test is designed to ensure that users using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”

If Netflix notices that someone is trying to use any account without being an account owner, he will be asked to verify if he is an account owner via an email code or text code. If someone is unable to verify the ownership of the account within a certain timeframe, they will not be able to stream any Netflix content whereas, they will be asked to create their own account. An account owner will be able to send their friend the code as it comes through — the idea is that it will prevent some password sharing.

A new feature was first spotted by GammaWire. The test isn’t specific to any one country for any specific length of time. The new feature is being rolled out to try better security measures around account protection. If there’s a malicious attempt to use an account for which a password may have been gained through fraudulent methods, they won’t be able to access the account.

One of the biggest queries for Netflix subscribers is likely what constitutes a household account. Netflix’s terms of service state that streaming content on the platform is for personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond the household. This may likely mean a physical household, but the terms of service are not clear. Families with kids away at college or living in different states may sign up through the family plan.

Netflix teams are now trying to figure out a way to combat some password sharing and addressing tighter security measures. Password sharing has long been a concern for analysts and investors on the platform. Analysis from Parks Associates estimated that password sharing and piracy cost companies in the streaming space around USD 9 billion alone. While co-CEO Reed Hastings alongside other entertainment executives have shrugged it off as something that companies have to contend with.

As per a research firm Magid, about 33 percent of all Netflix users share their password with at least one other person. Netflix’s basic plan costs USD 8.99 per month. The company’s standard plan is USD 13.99 per month, which allows users to watch Netflix on two screens at the same time.

Netflix has more than 200 million subscribers globally, but shares have underperformed the S&P 500 this year as investors have moved away from growth stocks.




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