Netflix users might be shocked by the crackdown on password sharing, preventing users in different households from using the same account, but Netflix isn’t expecting any long-term pain.
“As a student who lives in London for most of the year, I’ve been using my family’s Netflix. But now with these new rules I’m really angry that I’m going to need to pay extra,” Western University student Dana Etingen said.
“But now I either have to pay the additional $7.99, or get an account with my housemates to share,” she said.
Netflix has cracked down on password sharing for all users in Canada with newly released guidelines, stopping users who live in different households from using the same account as of Feb. 21.
“I still live with my family back in Toronto, that is my permanent residence. I only live in London during the school year because I don’t have a choice,” Etingen said.
“I think it’s so ugly that Netflix is taking advantage of users like this when they don’t need the extra money,” she said. “At this point I’m considering not subscribing at all.”
The streaming site, which has more than 230 million users globally, slightly less than half, 100 million, are sharing accounts. The streaming site saw this as a great opportunity for revenue growth.
In late December of 2022, the CEO’s of Netflix did an earnings call, explaining their pricing strategies for 2023, password-sharing being one of them.
They view this move as an excellent opportunity to make more money and release even more content to stay on top of the game.
“We’ll see a bit of a cancel reaction to that. We think of this as similar to what we see when we raise prices,” said Greg Peters, co-CEO of Netflix during a shareholders meeting. That’s what happened in a trial in South America last year.
“But then, generally, what happens is, we’ll see folks come on as new subscribers, essentially borrowers creating their accounts or incremental monetization through the extra member that’ll happen shortly thereafter,” Peters said.
“And then, clearly, our job is to continue to grow value, to have more amazing titles that people cannot wait to see, and so, winning back essentially folks who have turned off the service and bringing them back on to the service over the months and years to come,” Peters said.
Jessica Bay, a film and entertainment expert, believes that the implications of this move is to try and stay on top, as streaming sites have become the most popular form of movie consumerism.
“As the streaming landscape continues to expand, Netflix has a lot of competitors and doesn’t want to compete with itself as well,” Bay said.
Being the most popular streaming service in Canada, Bay said Netflix’s subscription numbers remained the same in previous price increase changes. “Netflix feels that they are in a secure enough position to test this new way of controlling subscribers before they really need a system in place to recoup lost revenue due to lost subscribers,” Bay said.
As for subscription decline, users may be outraged by this change but the streaming site does not believe that their rates will drop in the long run.
With Netflix being such a big name in the streaming world, some users are concerned that other sites may follow suit with account restrictions.
“My biggest concern with this ban is that if all goes well for Netflix and people end up paying more for this service, other sites will also implement this new rule as well.” said Ethan Coull, a low voltage technician from Toronto.
Coull, who has recently moved out of his family’s home, was taken aback by this change. However, he still plans on using the site because of their vast discography selection.
“I’m still going to use Netflix because I’m an adult and I would have had to get my own account eventually, but if they continue to put out useless rules and regulations to make a few extra bucks, I may consider cancelling,” Coull said.