The end of free Netflix password sharing is near. Here’s what you need to know

Netflix is ​​stepping up its efforts to make free viewers pay: Starting early next year, it will start charging accounts for sharing passwords, instituting a system that adds fees for “additional member” sub-accounts “when people outside a household use the subscription.

After years of being relatively lax on password sharing, Netflix began testing ways to “monetize account sharing” after it suffered its biggest-ever subscriber losses earlier this year. In addition to password sharing fees, Netflix is ​​also launching cheaper ad-supported subscriptionshoping to entice more people to pay if they don’t have to pay as much.

Netflix’s dominance in video streaming — not to mention years of uninterrupted subscriber growth — has caused nearly every major Hollywood media company to funnel billions of dollars into their own streaming operations. These so-called streaming wars have sparked a wave of new services, including Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount Plus, and Apple TV Plus. This flood of streaming options has complicated the number of services you have to use (and, often, pay for) to watch your favorite shows and movies online.

Now, feeling the heat of intensifying competition to hold your attention and your subscription, Netflix is ​​pursuing strategies it had rejected for years, including a crackdown on account sharing.

How much will Netflix charge for password sharing?

The company did not specify pricing for these new fees when it confirmed the plans last month. But this change was already being tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, where Netflix charges a fee for each additional member. In these countries, the charges amount to roughly a quarter of the price of a Standard package, on average.

If Netflix sticks to this practice, each additional member sub-account in the United States would cost around $3.50 to $4 or even up to $4.43, depending on the level of fees in Chile.

When will I have to start paying to share a Netflix account?

Starting in early 2023, Netflix will start rolling out account sharing fees “more broadly” beyond the handful of countries where it is testing them, the company announced in October. He did not say which countries will get them first or how long the full rollout will take.

How will Netflix apply the fees?

Netflix hasn’t detailed how it will enforce paid password sharing once the fee rolls out widely. Its application in testing in Latin America varied, according to one report.

Netflix’s help center pages say the service detects an account outbreak by looking at IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices logged into the same account.

Netflix states that if your account is persistently accessed from a location outside of your household, or if someone logs into your account from a device not associated with the household, Netflix may request primary owner of the account to verify. To do this, Netflix sends a link to a four-digit verification code to the email address or phone number associated with the primary account. This code must be entered into the device within 15 minutes or you will need to request another one.

However, Netflix may change this process as the Account Sharing Program rolls out.

Can I share a low-cost Basic account with additional members?

Not likely. If Netflix meets the standards for shared account testing in Latin America, Netflix would only offer this “additional member” fee on its Standard ($15.50 per month in the US) and Premium ($20 per month in US) plans. USA), both of which allow more than one simultaneous stream.

Netflix didn’t offer an option for these “additional member” fees on its basic plans in testing.

In the US, Netflix offers a basic tier of $10 per month and a new basic tier with ads of $7 per month. Both of these basic plans limit your viewing to a single simultaneous stream, which makes account sharing functionally difficult.

What if I’ve been using a profile on someone else’s account for a while?

Netflix has created a profile transfer feature, which it launched the day before revealing its plans for a wider rollout of account sharing fees. Profile transfer was a key component of password sharing charges tested in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. This feature allows a profile created on a shared Netflix account to transfer its watch history and recommendations to a new independent account. This new account can then be added to someone else’s Standard or Premium subscription plan as an additional member (for a fee), or they can sign up for their own subscription.

Where did Netflix come up with these fees?

The password-sharing fee system Netflix will roll out appears to be modeled after a system it has been testing in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru for about six months.

In July, Netflix announced that it would test a different method in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This test established an account’s primary residence as the “domicile” for membership. If the service detects streaming in additional homes for more than two weeks, it prompts the account to set up – and pay for – additional “homes”, with a limit on the number of additional homes you can add based on how much you already pay for Netflix. Netflix seems to be avoiding this model in favor of the other it has tested.

Christy J. Olson