Will Netflix Ban Password Sharing?

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Some Netflix customers are getting a message on their screens, prompting them to sign up for their own account if they aren’t watching with the account's main subscriber. This raises the question, "Why buy the cow when you can stream it with your friend's password for free?"

Technically, you're not supposed to share your Netflix passwords. Historically, Netflix hasn't done much, if anything, about it. (Industry analysts estimate that about a third of Netflix users share their passwords.) This wasn't a problem when Netflix was a Wall Street darling and subscriber growth was strong, but with investors generally less interested in growth stocks, and with a bevy of new, big name streamers looking for your time and money, a test makes sense.

This raises another question: Would you pay for your own account if the login credentials you borrowed didn't work?

Read more about this below:

Netflix is testing a crackdown on password sharing

Published Thu, Mar 11 20213:04 PM EST Updated Thu, Mar 11 20216:07 PM EST

Key Points

  • Netflix is running a test cracking down on password sharing.
  • Some customers are getting a message on their screens prompting them to sign up for their own account if they aren’t watching with the subscriber.
  • Netflix has historically ignored password sharing, even as about one-third of all users share passwords.

Co-founder and director of Netflix Reed Hastings delivers a speech as he inaugurates the new offices of Netflix France, in Paris on January 17, 2020.

Netflix has never made a big deal about password-sharing, but a new test suggests the company may be reconsidering.

Netflix is trying out a new policy with some customers, prompting certain people to sign up for a separate account if they aren’t watching with the subscriber.

The message reads: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” The Streamable first reported about the trial.

According to a spokesman, Netflix tries “hundreds” of tests a year with select customers.

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” Netflix said in a statement.

The trial may not lead to a larger crackdown around password sharing. The test could be applied for account security as well as sharing passwords.

About 33% of all Netflix users share their password with at least one other person, according to research firm Magid.

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Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, ...

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