USA TODAY International Edition
Industry sits back with popcorn as Netflix kills password sharing
The company that once tweeted “love is sharing a password” is breaking up with password sharing. ● Netflix wants to squeeze a few extra bucks out of freeloaders using other people’s accounts to stream shows like “You” and “Ozark” for free. ● It may not be alone. ● Read the user agreements for popular streaming services like Disney+ and Hulu and you’ll soon discover that sharing account passwords outside your household isn’t kosher with any of them though they haven’t done much to discourage it ... yet.
Will Hulu and Disney+ crack down on password sharing?
Streaming companies are under growing pressure. Competitors have multiplied like tribbles on “Star Trek.” Good content is costly to produce.
High inflation is prompting consumers to tighten their belts. And, with so many viewing options at their fingertips, subscribers are getting increasingly fickle. They sign up for streaming services to watch “Yellowstone” or “Succession” only to unsubscribe a few months later.
And, according to a Parks Associates’ 2022 survey, 40% of consumers in U. S. internet households share credentials or use shared credentials, up from 27% in 2019.
So charging folks who stream without paying could be a coming attraction.
“It is going to be a new reality of streaming going forward,” said Paul Erickson, a media and entertainment technology analyst and principal of Erickson Strategy & Insights.
Did Netflix cancel password sharing?
Some 100 million people watch Netflix using someone else’s account.
So Netflix is restricting streaming access to people who live in the same household. Subscribers who want to share their accounts with people outside their household will have to pay for that access or lose it.
What’s the future of password sharing?
Will Netflix succeed in converting nonpaying users into subscribers? The streaming industry will be watching.
“They want to let Netflix brave the rough waters before they need to,” Erickson said. “They want to find that inflection point where they can ask for more money, but they don’t lose a subscriber.”
Password crackdowns could encourage more people to drop streaming services. So, for now, other streaming services are letting Netflix take the lead.
“Subscribers – who are already reevaluating their budgets – may view the censure as a penalty or price increase,” Parks Associates research analyst Sarah Lee said in an email.