Virtually everyone with a Netflix subscription has shared their password with someone at some point or another. In fact, the practice is so common that Netflix has estimated up to 100 million households worldwide are sharing passwords. Unfortunately for Netflix, this equates to a large amount of lost revenue. As a result, Netflix has put password sharers in the crosshairs in an effort to eliminate freeloading. If you’re someone who shares their password or uses someone else’s password to get your streaming fix, things are going to change. This guide shares how this new policy will affect you.
FYI: is password sharing the least of your concerns, as you can’t even et Netflix working? Try these Netflix troubleshooting tips.
What Is Changing?
A few years ago, Netflix’s official Twitter account made some tongue-in-cheek statements that seemed to encourage password sharing. It could be surmised that Netflix was primarily concerned with getting as many eyeballs on their platform as possible, regardless of whether everyone was a paying customer or not. The calculation seems to be that if more people see what Netflix has to offer, a percentage of them wouldn’t be able to live without it and ultimately subscribe to maintain access.
However, due to increased competition and economic conditions, Netflix has seen subscribers ditch the service in large numbers. This has resulted in much lost revenue. Netflix has openly admitted that password sharing eats into the company’s profits. Since Netflix is in the business of making money and wants to continue to do so, password sharing has to go.
With the new policy update, you will no longer be able to “share” your Netflix account with someone outside of your home, unless you want to pay a little more. Netflix will charge an additional fee for those opting to share.
When will password sharing end?
Netflix has remained fairly tight-lipped about the move to end password sharing. That said, share holders have revealed that the crackdown will begin at the end of the first quarter, which is around the end of March. Netflix has already rolled out their plans throughout Latin America in 2022. Recently, users in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain have experienced the new password sharing rules. Users in the U.S. are expected to lose free Netflix password sharing around the end of March.
Setting Your “Primary Location”
How will Netflix know if you’re sharing your account credentials? The answer is Location tracking. Netflix will soon prompt subscribers to nominate a “primary location”, or in layman’s terms, your house. Because your home issues a unique IP address when it communicates with Netflix, the streaming giant will be able to tell if a device is streaming content from your “primary location.” Anyone using your account from inside your home will continue to have access to the service.
If you are using the account of someone you don’t live with, you’ll have a different IP address when you connect to Netflix. Netflix will see that you are not in the primary location of the account holder, and you’ll be given two options. Either sign up for your own account or join the account holder’s subscription as a “sub account.”
What Is a Sub Account?
A “sub account” is a freeloader turned into a paying customer. As mentioned earlier, you can still share your Netflix password with someone outside of your primary location, you’ll just have to pay for it. A subscription to the Standard and Premium tiers of Netflix will allow you up to two “extra member sub accounts.” The “sub account” will have their own profile, complete with their own personalization and login credentials.
Electing to have sub accounts will incur an additional fee that will be paid by the primary account holder. How much this will cost will depend on your location. For example, in Canada, account holders who choose to nominate two “extra account holders” will be charged an additional $7.99 CAD on top of the cost of their existing plan. In Spain, “extra member sub accounts” are charged Euro €5.99, whereas in Portugal it costs Euro €3.99. In summation, people can still share their passwords; however, the account holder will have an additional fee tacked on to their monthly subscription bill.
Good to know: Struggling to remember all of your passwords? Take a look at the best password managers for Web, desktop, and mobile.
Manage Access and Devices
Is an ex of yours still using your Netflix account? Did you forget to sign out of your account when you logged in to a hotel TV while on vacation? Thankfully, you can block access to your Netflix account on specific devices before you start to incur the new sub account fee. Do it with a single click – no awkward conversations necessary.
Access your Netflix account settings via the Web or through the iOS or Android apps. This will allow you to easily view all of the recent devices that have streamed from your account. If you spot a device that you don’t recognize, you can log out remotely. This will prevent unauthorized users from streaming content via your account.
How to Use Your Account While Traveling
The fact that Netflix is using location tracking to establish a primary location begs the question: what happens if I’m traveling? Will my account be charged the additional sub account fee if I access Netflix from a network outside of my house, like hotel Wi-Fi? Netflix assures subscribers that they will still be able to log in and stream while on the road. However there is one major caveat. You’ll need to log in to Netflix from your primary location at least once per month.
Logging in from your primary location once a month isn’t exactly elegant, but it’s simple enough. However, this solution isn’t foolproof.
For example, let’s say that one of your children goes to college and lives on campus. Theoretically, that child would only be able to use the family Netflix login for 30 days before the extra sub account charge would be applied. While it’s feasible that the child could come home to “check in” every month, it’s probably not likely.
Furthermore, if you travel for work and spend extended periods on the road, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to log in from your primary location. Unfortunately, Netflix hasn’t really explained how they plan on addressing these issues.
Tip: if you’re thinking of dumping Netflix for another streaming service, see how Amazon Prime Video compares to Netflix.
Using a VPN
It’s common knowledge that Netflix libraries vary depending on the country you’re in. This is due to different licensing agreements in different regions and is generally known as “geo-blocking.” As a result, many use a VPN to access content in other regions. If you’re someone who does this, it’s unclear how the new Neflix password sharing policy will impact you. That said, we can speculate and make a few educated guesses.
A VPN hides a user’s real IP address by masking it with a completely different IP address from another location, enabling users to get around geo-blocking. Presumably, using a VPN while streaming content would trigger a red flag at Netflix, as your account would be accessing content from an IP address different from your “primary location.”
To determine how Netflix might behave in this scenario, we can look at how Netflix is handling accounts while traveling under the new password sharing policy. We can assume that to avoid the additional sub account fee when using your VPN, you would need to disable your VPN connection and log in to Netflix from your “primary location” at least once per month. This would then count as a “check in” to your primary location. But take this advice with a grain of salt, as there has been no official documentation from Netflix on this matter.
If you share your Netflix account with someone outside of your primary location, there’s a good chance that you have separate accounts.
While you do this so that you don’t screw up each other’s watch lists, it can also have an impact on your overall experience. Most users know that Netflix collects data about your watch habits. They do this to tailor the experience to each individual profile and curate a personalized recommendations list based on watch history.
Fortunately, if there is someone using your Netflix login, and you aren’t opting to make them a sub account, it doesn’t mean that the person using your account loses their profile when you give them the boot, thanks to a feature called “Profile Transfer.”
Using Profile Transfer, people using your account will be able to transfer their profile when they sign up for their own membership. This will allow them to keep their personalized recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games, and other settings. If you’re someone who falls into this camp, Netflix has a new ad-supported membership tier that can help you save a few bucks.
For now, find out how you can manage and easily switch between Netflix profiles in all your devices.
Image credit: Pexels
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