Netflix is moving full speed ahead with a revised plan to end password sharing. After accidentally sharing details for a strict protocol they're testing in other countries on the help page of the website, the streamer is further expanding its password crackdown to four new countries - Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain - and announced that it will begin blocking any devices found using an illicitly shared password.
The core of this system being tested is the new "buy an extra member" option which opened on Wednesday in the aforementioned countries. Netflix has previously discussed the possibility of having users pay for any other members that utilize their accounts as an alternative option to forcing everyone to pay for a separate subscription and this new system lays the groundwork for that. Members will be able to add a sub-account for up to two people they don't live with at an extra cost of CAD$7.99 in Canada, NZD$7.99 in New Zealand, €3.99 in Portugal, and €5.99 in Spain per month per person. It's a cheaper alternative compared to paying for another account, however, only members on the standard or premium subscriptions will be able to utilize this feature. To manage everyone on the account, a new "Manage Access and Devices" page will also be added to see who is allowed to use the account. Users will also have to designate a primary location.
For the users that remain logged in on someone else's password outside the primary residence and fail to sign up to their own accounts, their devices will be considered in violation of the terms of service and be blocked after an unspecified number of days. They'll also be informed that they need an account to continue using Netflix and, any who do decide to give in and pay will be allowed to convert a profile into an account to save their watch history.
Another benefit to the new system over what was previously proposed is that it'll still be possible to watch Netflix outside the primary residence. The streamer received its fair share of backlash for requiring users to request a code to use the service while traveling and that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Cell phones and other personal devices should work fine and using Netflix on a hotel smart TV should no longer be an issue. Furthermore, Netflix has committed to remaining open to changes to the password system based on feedback from users.
Netflix Won't Let Backlash Get In the Way of Curbing Password Sharing
With all that said, ending password sharing was one of Netflix's top priorities heading into the New Year and their rationale on the matter hasn't changed despite the widespread disdain for the move. They fully expect that, with the rollout in four new countries, there will be a cancel reaction by a fair number of users. Still, the streamer feels that the estimated over 100 million households utilizing illicitly shared passwords is key to bolstering their revenue going forward.
More issues with the system will be ironed out as the system is rolled out throughout more countries, including the U.S. Only time will tell, however, if the short-term customer loss is really worth it for Netflix or if the system will ultimately do more harm than good.