Netflix No More?

Netflix No More?

Ryan Bruce, Contributor

Coming in March, Netflix will attempt to end password sharing in the US. Subscribers who have more than one household using an account would have to pay an extra $3 per extra household. Netflix plans on using the IP addresses of peoples’ devices to see if two people using the same account are living together or not. If a device is not using the primary account owner’s household  internet connection, Netflix will require periodic device verification.

Netflix has already rolled this feature out in Latin America, to a generally confused and upset response. At first, when users watched Netflix on a device outside their home, they would be prompted to buy a new ‘home’ to add to their plan, but this feature was soon discontinued. Many people started canceling their subscriptions in response to this new policy.

But even if Netflix could confirm with 100% certainty that more than one household was using an account, what could they do to make sure you pay the extra fee? According to Netflix, “When a device outside of your household signs into an account or is used persistently, we may ask you to verify a device before it can be used to watch Netflix or switch your Netflix household…. Netflix will not automatically charge you if you share your account with someone who doesn’t live with you.” Netflix verifies a device through the usual process, sending a link to the phone number or email of the primary account owner which opens to a verification code. The code needs to be entered into the device within 15 minutes, or it will expire and a new code will need to be sent. While this may be more effective at preventing hackers from using your account, if you’re sharing a password with someone willingly, it would only take a quick text to let them keep using the account. If the account owner denies that they’re violating the terms of service, and Netflix can’t prove that they are, Netflix can either force them to cancel their subscription or allow them to continue sharing passwords. 

At Bob Jones, students have mixed opinions about Netflix’s policy change, albeit mostly negative opinions. In a poll about this topic, the individual response section was mostly full of complaints, with a sparse few saying that it could be a good business decision. 46.4% of students stated that they shared a Netflix password, and 35.7% said they shared a password for another streaming service. For some, this decision was the last straw in a long series of questionable business practices. Netflix has a history of canceling successful shows after only one or two seasons, and their subscription price goes up 

If more people unwilling to pay for Netflix have their access to it taken away, they will probably either just stop watching their shows or turn to illegal streaming, which is becoming easier and easier to access every day. Taking people sharing passwords off of their accounts won’t lead to more people making new accounts, it will lead to fewer people watching Netflix.