Thousands affected by Netflix's account sharing changes
Say goodbye to piggybacking off your mate’s Netflix account.
New password-sharing rules limiting how we access and share Netflix accounts are coming into play, a change which will impact hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.
The changes were announced on the 9th of February and are being implemented only in a small number of countries (NZ, Canada, Spain, Portugal). The changes will come into effect 30 days after you receive a notification from Netflix, putting a stop to scalping off that mate’s Netflix account that you've never paid for.
Each Netflix account will be associated with a ‘primary location’, think of this as your home base, and all users will need to log into the account using the primary location’s WiFi network at least once every 31 days to avoid being blocked.
Don’t panic if you can’t access your second cousin’s, ex-boyfriend's Netflix anymore - Netflix assures you’ll be able to transfer your profile to a brand-new account, keeping your personalised recommendations, viewing history, My List, and more.
Travelling's a little more complicated
If you’re unwinding with your favourite show after that out-of-town work conference, you will need to request a temporary code from Netflix to ensure that it is in fact you trying to access your own account.
Members with second homes or who travel frequently will have to open the Netflix app on their portable device(s) while connected to the WiFi network at their primary location once a month and then when they arrive at a second location.
Supposedly members traveling for an extended period can adjust their primary location so they will still have access while away from home.
Extra users now cost you
Members on Standard or Premium plans can add an extra member sub account for up to two people they don’t live with — each with a profile, login and password for an extra $7.99. Members can see which streaming locations are using Netflix in the account settings.
News, but also not
We’ve all just chosen to ignore this, or more realistically, haven’t bothered to read the terms and conditions (which is understandable, considering they are seven pages long).
Contrary, in 2017, Netflix’s official twitter account wrote ‘Love, is sharing a password’.
In a public statement issued by Netflix it said: “We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account with features like profiles and multiple streams. While these have been hugely popular, they’ve also created confusion about when and how you can share Netflix. Today, over 100 million households are sharing accounts — impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films.”
While annoying, and a punch to the wallet for many, the ‘new rules’ are really an attempt by Netflix to implement a term that was already in place, but everyone ignored, because, well, there was nothing stopping them – until now.
The tech sector has been facing massive layoffs since the Covid pandemic began in 2020, with tech giants like Google and Amazon laying off thousands of staff.
With revenue down, and stagnating customer numbers worldwide, Netflix already announced that ad-supported streaming is on its way.
In a bid to reach a greater number of consumers, streaming platforms are offering cheaper plans to people willing to sit through ads. Netflix’s Basic with Ads plan features roughly four minutes of ads per hour that play both before and during shows and movies.
Ava, 31, from Hamilton, pays for the most expensive account so her parents who live together and two sisters who live in different homes can each have a profile on their ‘family’ account.
“It’s stupid because I have the highest subscription with five profiles, which I pay for specifically so my family can access it. It’s not like five people all sharing one profile.”
Ava currently pays $24.99 for five profiles on one account, working out at $4.99 per person a month. The changes now mean it’ll cost $48.66 for her family to be sharing the same account. $9.73 each. Which is only slightly cheaper than if they each made their own basic account.
“I’ve done it above board and now I’m being penalised. I’m considering cancelling my subscription.”
According to the terms and conditions, users have 30 days after being notified before any changes come into effect. Ava has not yet received a notification email from Netflix about the changes.