When 2023 rolls around, the era of friends and family sharing Netflix login information will be over.
It’s been a rough year for Netflix as a streaming service. Shortly after the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2022, Netflix announced a significant drop in membership. Since then, Netflix has experimented with various strategies for expanding its user base; most recently, in November of this year, it introduced a cheaper, advertising-supported subscription option. Precautions against users sharing passwords were another suggestion that may now be gaining traction.
Netflix’s timeline for ending password sharing in 2023 confirms the dreaded event. The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix is considering a system that would charge customers who want to use their Netflix credentials on non-home devices. Recently, Netflix has begun testing a system in which users who are not logged in from the primary account holder’s home are induced upon signing in to open up an on-screen validation code that expires after 15 minutes. The primary user has the option of adding two additional users to bypass this procedure each time they log in. Netflix in the United States has not yet revealed how they plan to accomplish this.
The motivation for this shift on Netflix’s part is unchanged: the service is actively seeking to expand its subscriber base. Like their ad-supported membership tier, Netflix’s crackdown on sharing login details is an effort to attract new customers rather than rely solely on their existing customer base, who may invite friends and family to share their account with them. They believe that if they restrict who can access Netflix accounts outside the home regularly, they will be able to convince more people who haven’t subscribed before to do so.
Netflix’s ad-supported membership tier has been reported to be the least popular on the platform. So, if the password-sharing ban has the same effect as Netflix’s other changes, the streaming service may not see the vast subscriber gain they hope to. Users have also voiced their disappointment that popular series like House of Cards and Arrested Development are unavailable on the new payment tier. Early reports from the Latin American password-sharing assessments indicate that customers are dissatisfied with the performance of the Netflix anti-password-sharing version. Netflix could lose even more of its customer base if it persists in pursuing unpopular policies with its audience.
On the other hand, fewer people sharing passwords could mean more people paying for the ad-supported service. Those who can no longer “borrow” a parent’s or friend’s Netflix account may be more motivated to pay the $6.99 per month required to create their own. Some may see Netflix’s early release of the ad-supported plan as strategic. Customers who are sad about the loss of a free Netflix experience will have a cheaper option for their regular dose of Sex Education, The Sandman, or Wednesday in 2023 when Netflix introduces its password-free self.