SOURCE: BBC – Netflix is introducing limits on password sharing in four more countries: Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
Customers in those countries are being asked to pay an extra fee if they want friends and family who don’t live with them to share their subscription.
The move follows a crackdown on sharing passwords in South America, and will roll out in the UK by the end of March.
Netflix estimates 100 million people around the world use shared accounts.
The hit to revenues from the shared accounts was affecting Netflix’s ability to invest in new programming content, the firm said. It has said it is planning to extend the new approach to more countries in coming months.
“Over the last year, we’ve been exploring different approaches to address this issue in Latin America, and we’re now ready to roll them out more broadly in the coming months, starting today in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain,” it said in a blog post on Wednesday.
Up until now it has been easy for subscribers to share their login and password with friends outside their home.
Back in 2017 Netflix even appeared to be sanctioning the practice when it tweeted “Love is sharing a password”.
But growing competition in the streaming market, and customers cutting back on subscriptions due to the rising cost of living, have prompted Netflix to focus on shoring up its revenues.
The firm said that allowing accounts to be used by several people within households had “created confusion” about when and how people could share.
It said members in Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal would now be asked to set up a “primary location” for their account and manage who has access to it.
Members would still be able to watch Netflix when they travelled, both on personal devices and logging in in other places, for example in a hotel, it said.
For CAD$7.99 (£4.92) Canadian subscribers can add up an extra member as a “sub account” the blog said, with a maximum of two sub accounts per subscription.
The fee would be similar in New Zealand at NZ$7.99 (£4.17). There would be a price difference for sub accounts between Portugal at €3.99 (£3.54) and Spain at €5.99 (£5.32).
Netflix chief operating officer Gregory Peters last month acknowledged that the changes would not be “universally popular” and warned investors to expect some cancellations.
He said the firm expected to eventually make up those losses.
In the first half of 2022, Netflix saw its subscriber numbers fall sharply. It cut hundreds of jobs and put up prices to cover rising costs.
But the company saw a bigger-than-expected rise in user numbers in the last three months of 2022, up 7.66 million, taking its total paid subscribers worldwide to nearly 231 million.
In November, it introduced a cheaper ad-supported option in 12 countries, including most of Europe, the UK and the US.