Netflix Expands Paid-Sharing Plans to Four New Countries, Will Start Blocking Devices That Illicitly Use Shared Passwords

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Netflix’s crackdown on sharing passwords with individuals outside an account member’s household is expanding to four new countries — and the streaming giant said it’s going to start blocking devices that attempt to access a Netflix account without properly paying.

Starting Wednesday (Feb. 8), Netflix is launching a “buy an extra member” option in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. Members on Netflix’s Standard or Premium plan in those countries can add an extra member sub-account for either one or two people they don’t live with — each with a profile, personalized recommendations, login and password — for an extra CAD$7.99 in Canada, NZD$7.99 in New Zealand, €3.99 in Portugal and €5.99 in Spain per month per person.

“A Netflix account is meant to be shared in one household (people who live in the same location with the account owner). People who are not in your household will need to sign up for their own account to watch Netflix,” the company says on the customer-help section of its website.

What if users who are borrowing passwords from another person’s account (and aren’t in the same physical household) fail to sign up for their own Netflix plans? According to a Netflix rep, the company will begin to block devices that it detects are being used by someone outside the account-holder’s primary residence after a certain number of days; the spokesperson didn’t say how many days that would be. Those who to use a shared password in violation of Netflix’s terms of service will be notified that they need to sign up for their own account or be added as a sub-account by the primary account holder.

That said, Netflix members can still access the service while traveling via their personal devices or by logging in to new TV (like at a hotel or vacation rental). With the new paid-sharing program, users in the applicable countries will need to set their “primary location,” which will ensure “that anyone who lives in their household can use their Netflix account.”

Netflix estimates that passwords are being shared in violation of its rules with more than 100 million non-paying households worldwide — and the company sees that as an opportunity generate incremental revenue.

In expanding the crackdown on password sharing, Netflix expects some “cancel reaction,” according to co-CEO Greg Peters, which will hurt near-term subscriber growth. “This will not be a universally popular move,” Peters said on Netflix’s Q4 2022 earnings interview. There will be “a bit of cancel reaction to that,” similar to what Netflix sees when it raises pricing. He described the initiative as giving people who share their accounts “a gentle nudge” to pay for users outside their own household.

Last year Netflix launched the paid-sharing tests in three Latin American countries (in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru) and said it would expand the rollout in the first quarter of 2023.

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