It looks like Netflix is ramping up its efforts to stamp out the scourge of password sharers. This week, the video streaming company announced it had updated its policy on password sharing in four more countries: Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain.
In these four countries, users will now have to set a primary location to link to their account, although they will still be able to log in if they’re traveling. For every extra person that accesses the account, they will be charged CAD$7.99 a month per person in Canada, NZD$7.99 in New Zealand, €3.99 in Portugal, and €5.99 in Spain.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Netflix explained that over 100 million households were sharing their accounts with people who weren’t paying for their service. This, they claim, is “ impacting [their] ability to invest in great new TV and films”.
A 2018 survey found that 26 percent of millennials use the password from someone else’s account to stream films and TV shows. Some would argue this is just a push towards a “sharing economy”, but this could mean media companies are losing out on billions of dollars.
Technically, Netflix already prohibits password sharing beyond single households. In their terms and conditions, it reads: “The Netflix service and any content accessed through the service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” Clearly, these rules are not tightly enforced as it stands.
There have been numerous hints that the company was looking to crack down on password sharing. In recent years, the company has argued that shared accounts are hitting their revenue and growth.
However, this attitude is a major turnaround from previous years. Netflix previously suggested that password sharing was not a concern and, in fact, it was part of why the steaming service was so popular.
"We love people sharing Netflix," company CEO Reed Hastings told the crowd at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017. "That's a positive thing, not a negative thing."
In 2017, the official Netflix Twitter account infamously tweeted "Love is sharing a password."
The hard times that have hit the tech industry recently have forced the streaming giant to reconsider this free-spirited approach, it seems.