US crackdown on Netflix password sharing has yet to begin

12 months ago
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After wasted Netflix have been testing various ways to combat password disclosure for years, making changes to US Help Center Page this week seemed to indicate that the streaming giant had finally decided on a plan. But these tricks quickly disappeared, leaving confusion and anxiety about possible changes to the Netflix account sharing policy. Now the company clarifies that nothing has changed this week, and no new restrictions are being introduced now.

“For a short time on Tuesday, a help center article containing information only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru was published in other countries. We’ve since updated it,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.

However, the password exchange death knell is still ringing after the company said in its recent earnings report that it will announce and begin implementing changes to account sharing around the world in the first quarters of 2023.

“We have people who watch Netflix but don’t pay us to actually borrow someone’s credentials. And our goal this year is to basically work through that situation and turn a lot of those people into paid accounts or get the account holder to pay for them,” Netflix COO and Chief Product Officer Gregory Peters said in the company’s latest report. . January 19 income statement. “So we’ve been working hard on this and trying to do a kind of thoughtful experiment to let our participants talk to us in terms of what set of solutions works for them. … We are ready to deploy them later this quarter. We’ll shake it up a bit as we work with the country sets, but we’ll really see that happen in the next couple of quarters.”

The confusion about possible changes this week arose because content intended for one country’s help center page was erroneously published for other countries. The situation was further complicated by the fact that Netflix’s help center pages allow you to quickly switch between information for different countries using the “Currently viewing information for” tool, which allows you to select from a drop-down menu of country names.

It’s been almost a year since Netflix pilot approach in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, where the company is more serious about tying each account to a physical location, or “household,” and only allowing devices to regularly access the account from that location. To do this, the company uses “IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity” to determine where devices are streaming content from. An important component of the initiative in these three countries is the addition of a paid sharing or “add an extra member” mechanism, similar to the family plans offered by streaming services such as Spotify, through which Netflix subscribers can pay at a reduced rate to provide family members or friends with a common access to an account with their own login.

Based on comments from Netflix executives in a recent earnings report, it looks like similar changes are likely to take place in the US and other markets. But the specifics of what Netflix will roll out in each country are not yet clear.

“Netflix is ​​a company built from superfans and very consumer driven, so it’s important for them to be flexible in everything they do for edge cases, and adding restrictions can cause friction,” says Jason Kint, CEO of digital media trade organization Digital. Content Next. (WIRED parent company Condé Nast is a member.) “They don’t want to create detractors who criticize their services. But ultimately, it’s still a business decision. … Their move will have an impact on the decisions of other companies.”

In its January earnings report, Netflix executives stressed that they are preparing for a backlash as they prepare to crack down on password sharing. “I think it’s worth noting that this is not going to be a universally popular move,” Peters said. “There will be current members who are unhappy with this move. We’ll see the cancellation reaction to that. We think this is similar to what we see when we raise prices.”

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