Netflix users are canceling their accounts as the password sharing crackdown is rolled out
Netflix users are not happy following the streaming giant’s decision to roll out its password sharing ban.
Under rules brought to 103 countries including the US and UK this week, people who were watching Netflix under someone else’s account now have to create and pay for their own logins.
Alternatively, those who still want to share an account with people in a different household have to sign up to ‘paid sharing’ at a cost of £4.99/month ($8/month in the US).
The multi-billion dollar firm said it has to ‘invest heavily’ in new content, but users are taking to social media to share their anger – and some are even deleting their accounts.
One person said Netflix is ’trying to treat us like we’re children’, while another simply tweeted ‘the divorce is final’ with the hashtag ‘Cancel Netflix’.
Netflix has rolled out the password-sharing ban to customers in 103 countries and territories, including the UK, the US, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Mexico and Brazil. Users have been alerted that their accounts cannot be shared for free outside of their households.
One person said Netflix is ’trying to treat us like we’re children’, while another simply tweeted ‘the divorce is final’ with the hashtag ‘Cancel Netflix’
The ban comes to 103 countries including the UK, the US, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Mexico and Brazil, having been tested first in Peru, Chile, and Costa Rica last year.
Around a quarter of Netflix’s 15 million UK subscribers share their passwords, according to research firm Digital-i.
One user posted to Twitter: ‘Sorry but us as users should #BoicotNetflix and complain even delete accounts so they don’t force us to do this. I pay extra to use 4 devices it shouldn’t matter how I used them.’
Another said: ‘I’ll just delete @netflix tbh, the platform isn’t even that good and there’s so many other streaming services. @netflix is about to go the way of blockbuster.
And one added: ‘Let them delete the account I share with family. I’m willing to bet this backfires on Netflix big time lol.
People also took to social media to share their anger at being made to shell out more money during a cost-of-living crisis.
One UK-based user said: ‘Netflix isn’t even that cheap anymore, and the cost of living etc means subscriptions will be one of the first things to go. Stupid decision.
Another simply posted: ‘Time to delete Netflix forever f***in scammers.’
One Twitter user retweeted Netflix’s badly-aged post from 2017 that said ‘Love is sharing a password’.
He simply said: ‘I think it’s time to delete this @netflix.’
Netflix has certainly changed its tune since tweeting ‘Love is sharing a password’ back in 2017.
‘Netflix is about to go the way of Blockbuster’: It seems people would rather delete their account than pay for having another person use it
People who still want to share an account with someone in a different household have to sign up to ‘paid sharing’ at a cost of £4.99/month ($8/month in the US)
Analysis of Google search data also reveals that online searches for ‘cancel Netflix account’ rocketed 2,939 per cent in the UK on Wednesday, May 24.
Netflix’s password-sharing ban had initially been slated for worldwide rollout by the end of March before it was delayed a couple of months by Netflix.
Password sharing is a habit adopted by Netflix users of distributing their password to other people who live outside their household.
This is the email Netflix has been sending to members who are sharing Netflix outside their household
This lets these so called ‘freeloaders’ access their account, create their own profile and watch films and TV shows without paying a penny.
For years, the Netflix terms of service have said users of an account must live in the same household, but its not taken any concrete action to prevent this until 2023.
This week the company started sending emails to UK users who are sharing Netflix with someone outside their household.
It says: ‘Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with – your household.
‘You can easily watch Netflix on the go and when you travel – either on your personal devices or a TV at a hotel or holiday home.’
It then advises them to review the devices that are signed in to their account and take steps to share Netflix with someone in another household.
Ultimately Netflix is banning password sharing because it wants more of our money, although the whole story is slightly more nuanced.
On Netflix, a single account can host up to five ‘profiles’, each individually named and curated for a particular person.
Each person can enjoy customized features – such as algorithmically-powered viewing recommendations, viewing history and settings – on their profile.
Netflix originally designed this feature so that multiple members of a household, such as children, can enjoy content without having to start their own Netflix account and pay the monthly fee.
On Netflix, a single account can host up to five ‘profiles’, each individually named and curated for one person. Here, Anna is the account holder who pays the monthly cost; the others are just profile holders
‘Time to delete Netflix forever’: The multi-billion dollar firm said it has to ‘invest heavily’ in new content to justify the move
But until now there’s been nothing to stop it being used across multiple homes, even though the Netflix terms of service have long said users of an account must live in the same household.
It has meant that five people living under five different addresses can have their own profile under one account – in other words, five different people getting Netflix for the price of one.
According to Netflix, this act deprives it of a potential revenue source, and ‘undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve our service’.
Netflix will now track IP addresses and device IDs to determine the location of TVs, phones and tablets that are using a profile on a Netflix account and deem whether or not they’re a ‘trusted device’ – in other words, if they’re in the same location as other devices that are using the account.
If there’s a mismatch or any suspicious signs, Netflix’s technology will know that they are in different households and are breaking the rules – and the ‘untrusted’ devices could be blocked from accessing the account.
However, the firm will be lenient to allow people to use Netflix on their device if they’re temporarily outside of the home, such as on holiday and using hotel Wi-Fi.
The firm has also previously suggested that accounts must be linked up to the home WiFi at least once a month to be considered a ‘trusted device’.
This would present some complications if users plan to go traveling or move away for more than 31 days.
When asked, Netflix told MailOnline that it is not disclosing any details of its enforcement.
Netflix illustration shows how someone who lives somewhere different to that of the account holder will be able to get an ‘extra member account’ for £4.99 (a charge paid by the account holder)
Netflix offers several different tiers costing anywhere from £4.99 and £15.99. With ‘paid sharing’ activated, billpayers could really start to feel the pinch.
Ultimately, those who are guilty of password sharing now have two options if they want to abide by Netflix’s rules.
Firstly, account holders can pay £4.99/month ($8/month in the US) to share their account and create an extra profile for someone in another household – known as ‘paid sharing’.
‘Cancel Netflix account’ searches skyrocket 2,939 per cent in the UK
Analysis of Google search data reveals that online searches for ‘Cancel Netflix account’ rocketed 2,939 per cent in the UK on May 24, as the streaming giant rolls out its plan to crack down on password sharing.
At the same time, searches for ‘Netflix password sharing’ soared by 1,469 per cent as UK-based account holders find out how they will be affected, according to comparison site KingCasinoBonus.
Meanwhile, UK-based searches for ‘Cancel Netflix,’ and ‘Delete Netflix’ rose 753 per cent and 705 per cent in the last seven days.
Ionut Catalin Marin, CEO at KingCasinoBonus, said: ‘Netflix’s plan to target password-sharing users is aimed at encouraging more people to subscribe.
‘However, users appear to have been turned off by this move.’
Netflix says: ‘The account owner will need to purchase an additional member slot, then invite an additional member to use the additional member slot.
‘The additional member must be activated in the same country where the account owner created their account.’
It’s worth bearing in mind that this cost is shouldered by the account holder – the one whose payment details have been registered.
It means that on top of the set monthly subscription price of anywhere up to £15.99, this billpayer could really start to feel the pinch.
Paid sharing will be customary for people who perhaps live in another home to their child but want to pay the cost of their Netflix experience.
It would also suit parents of kids who have moved out of the family home or gone to university but still want to use the family Netflix account for free.
Alternatively, it could suit a small group of friends across different households where the account holder/billpayer is considerably more wealthy than everyone else.
Paid sharing simply shows that technically, Netflix isn’t stopping password sharing, but monetizing it.
Alternatively, the ‘freeholders’ who have been benefiting from free Netflix can just start up and pay for their own account.
If they don’t want to lose all their personalized settings that they have in their existing profile, a tool called Profile Transfer lets them migrate it to a new account.
This means their favourites, recommendations and viewing history are saved when they start a Netflix account of their own.
To transfer a profile, users need to select the ‘Transfer Profile’ option on the dropdown menu on the homepage and then follow the instructions.
They’ll need to enter their email address, a new password and other data that new sign-ups have to enter – including billing information.
A tool called Profile Transfer lets people easily migrate their existing Netflix profile to a new account, keeping hold of favourites, recommendations, viewing history and other saved data.
Following a string of disappointing financial results throughout 2022, Netflix has generally been working on ways to bring in revenue.
In November last year, the company launched a ‘Basic with Ads’, a new subscription tier for £4.99 a month that plays adverts before and during content.
Basic with Adverts shows an average of four to five minutes of adverts per hour of content, with each advert 15 or 30 seconds in length.
There are still another three subscription tiers – Basic, Standard and Premium – which don’t have adverts and are more expensive (£6.99, £10.99 and £15.99 per month, respectively).
According to Netflix’s help page, only the Standard and Premium tiers give account holders the option to add profiles for people in a different household.
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Price: £4.99 a month
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Price: £5.99 a month OR £59.99 a year
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Prices correct as of May 2023