After a long day, you sit down to watch your favorite Netflix series, and the following message comes across your screen: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
This is a new occurrence that some people experience while watching Netflix. It began the week of March 12, as the streaming service has started a new trail on password sharing.
“Personally, I have my own Netflix account, but I have let friends in the past use my account,” said sophomore Jamie Strazza.
Despite Netflix previously not making a big deal out of this issue, according to some of its users, this new trial may suggest the company is starting to reconsider.
“I think password sharing could go either way,” said sophomore Sam Brodeur. “If you give your password to someone who you trust I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, but if you give it to someone that might abuse it and share it with further people, then it could be bad.”
According to research from Magid, about 33% of all Netflix users share their password with at least one other person.
Netflix’s basic plan costs $8.99 per month while their standard plan costs $13.99 per month, which allows users to watch on multiple screens simultaneously. The steep monthly price is what causes some users to use other people’s Netflix accounts.
Many say that Netflix is experiencing an increasing amount of competition with other streaming services.
“When Netflix started streaming, there really wasn’t any competition. Blockbuster tried and failed. Hulu wasn’t sure what it was yet, and Amazon Prime Video came along as the only real competition,” said Prof. Keith Zdrojowy, a Communications and Media professor who has previous experience working in IT.
According to Zdrojowy, in order to keep their subscribers, Netflix must pay attention to the competition.
“Now with the rise of AppleTV+, Disney+, Discovery+, etc., there are a lot more streaming services looking for our attention and our money,” said Zdrojowy. “Netflix knows that people share accounts, and they are probably losing millions of potential dollars.”
Park Associates estimates that password sharing cost streaming companies like Netflix $9.1 billion in 2019, according to entrepreneur.com.
“This is a good move for Netflix because people might get worried about sharing passwords and just start using their own account, which will get Netflix more money,” said sophomore Adriana Bracco.
On the other hand, some students say that people will find a loophole to the password crackdown trail.
“I do not think this approach will necessarily stop password sharing,” said Strazza. “I think that people who do this will find another way to get what they want.”
One question that remains is, will Netflix fulfill its goal with this trail and be able to stop the password sharing, or will it just push users away to use other streaming services?
“If Netflix follows through with this crackdown, it’ll only give away its popularity it has built over the years to streaming services that are up and coming,” said sophomore Julia Cunningham.