Netflix Doubles Down on Plan to Crackdown on Password Sharing

Password sharing has been a practice among Netflix users since pretty much the start of the streaming platform and its one that Netflix has long wanted to stop. Earlier this year, some users noticed that they were being met with messages that they need to live in the same household as the account owner and offered a verification method for those who happened to be the account owner. At the time, it was something that Netflix was just testing, but the streamer hasn't given up on cracking down on password sharing. Netflix still plans to roll out something, though when they do it will be in a way that "makes sense to consumers".

Netflix co-CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said in the company's first-quarter earnings interview on Tuesday (via Variety) that they are testing many things but what they eventually roll out won't be aggressive.

"We'll test many things, but we would never roll out something that feels like 'turning the screws' on people who enjoy the service," Hastings said. "It's gotta feel like it makes sense to consumers, that they understand."

Thus far, the biggest attempt to stop password sharing has come in the terms of service that indicates sharing login information outside of the primary account household is not allowed and the recent global test displaying the message telling users on some TVs "if you don't live with the owner of this account you need your own account to keep watching" along with the option to verify if you are the actual account holder. The approach has been limited to TV devices at this point, meaning that if you're watching on Roku or iPhone you won't be prompted with such a message and also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, such as how Netflix will define a household for the purpose of the subscription. However, Netflix COO and chief product officer Greg Peters acknowledged that they're still sorting out how to approach the situation and that the test will help them figure out how to proceed.

"We don't really know... what the right place to land is, a priori," Peters said, noting that the test is "mostly about letting that process unfold and letting our members speak to us about what the ideal model is."

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