Netflix appears to be trialing a new security measure. It seems the popular online streaming company is finally taking action against the rampant practice of sharing premium or paid accounts.
After resisting for a few years, Netflix may have given in to a long-standing demand of its investors. The company is testing new security solutions that will prevent paying subscribers from lending out their accounts.
Netflix rolling out warnings to owners of accounts it suspects are sharing with multiple users:
Netflix is starting to roll out a test of warnings against borrowed accounts. The company is sending out these warnings to a few users, its suspects, are lending account login information to users outside of their home or family.
The company has clearly started the trials with a very small number of users. However, the security measure could eventually stop the practice altogether. A few social media posts indicate Netflix is being very cautious, and perhaps reluctant, in deploying such negatory security measures.
Netflix is testing an account verification feature to crack down on password sharing
Users who hit the new login screen will need to enter a code sent to the account owner
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) March 12, 2021
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” indicated a Netflix spokesperson. “If the streaming platform detects that someone is trying to use the account without being an account owner, they’ll be asked to verify later or verify being an account owner through an email code or text code.”
Is Netflix cracking down on password sharing?: Some Netflix viewers are being asked to enter a verification code sent to the account holder before they start streaming. https://t.co/1t7s1miD3H pic.twitter.com/1mgXQfVtBc
— eXpertPC (@eXpertPC) March 11, 2021
If a viewer is unable to verify account ownership within a certain timeframe, they won’t be able to stream any Netflix content. Instead, they’ll be asked to make their own account.
Such a measure could curb the fraudulent use of illegally acquired accounts. However, legitimate users could just send out a code to the person they have shared the account with.
Why is the On-demand streaming platform attempting to halt the practice of account sharing?
Netflix has a total paid subscription userbase of about 200 Million across the world. However, there are many users around the world who rely on accounts that do not belong to them.
Netflix account sharing has been a common practice for quite some time. In fact, Netflix is quite aware of the same. However, the streaming platform has done little, if any, to curb account sharing, possibly because it helps them in the long run.
Great. Netflix can't make a login system that maintains state from the initial link, but they can damned sure keep you from sharing your account with a friend. Sigh. https://t.co/IdWZuRSPsp
— Dan Lyke (@danlyke) March 12, 2021
In fact, co-CEO Reed Hastings specifically spoke about it in 2016. Back then, he had said, “Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with. There’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids, so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is.”
About two years ago, Netflix’s investors had strongly demanded the platform take action against account sharing. The reason was very simple: Netflix was losing a huge amount of subscription money every month.
My family been using my Netflix account for a few years now since they gave up cable TV. If they gonna make ppl charge more because we're sharing our accounts w/ p- naw I wouldn't be surprised by that at all nevermind 🙃 https://t.co/TuJER1188t
— Zena (@GrimmZin) March 11, 2021
According to financial reports, Netflix is losing about $9 Billion per year to password or account sharing alone. This is certainly a large number, one which Netflix can turn into pure revenue.
However, the subscription-based “all you can eat” streaming service is acutely aware that a significant number of their subscribers would not have purchased a subscription if they never experienced the value proposition. Moreover, a large yet unknown number of subscribers wouldn’t have actively promoted the service, especially if their own usage is intermittent.
Besides losing revenue, Netflix is also concerned about security issues. Analysts, security advisors, and investors have repeatedly raised concerns about the practice of sharing passwords and accounts.