Netflix to charge users for password sharing from March

 (Tumisu / Pixabay)
(Tumisu / Pixabay)

For those sneakily using their ex’s Netflix account — the game will soon be up.

Netflix subscribers will have to pay an additional fee from late March if they want people in other locations to be able to access their account.

The company shared the news in a letter to shareholders, noting that “widespread account sharing” has exceeded more than 100 million viewers.

The streaming company has already introduced sharing fees in South America, which are the equivalent of about £2 a month. The announcement followed its introduction of profile transfer, which enables users to port details of their viewing history, games, lists, and settings to a different account. Profile transfer is intended to encourage people to set up their own accounts.

Netflix said 2022 had been a “tough year” due to its first subscriber loss in more than a decade - its customer base fell by 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter.

“Today’s widespread account sharing undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” the company said in its letter.

“While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognise this is a change for members who share their account more broadly.”

Based on a trial of the new stricter rules in selected Central and South American countries last year, the company conceded it expected a negative reaction in the short term.

“As we work through this transition – and as some borrowers stop watching either because they don’t convert to extra members or full paying accounts – near-term engagement, as measured by third parties, like Nielsen’s The Gauge, could be negatively impacted,” the statement said.

You’ll have to have your own accont to watch films like The Power of the Dog (Kirsty Griffin / Netflix via AP)
You’ll have to have your own accont to watch films like The Power of the Dog (Kirsty Griffin / Netflix via AP)

Netflix tested its subscriber plans across Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, offering them the “add an extra member” option if they wanted to share their account with up to two people outside their household. Chileans were charged 2,38 pesos for it, the equivalent of £2.26.

Subscribers had no restrictions placed on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, to enable legitimate users to still access their accounts while travelling.

But the new system may put an end to logging into your account to watch a Netflix show at a friend’s or relative’s house, as well as sharing a single subscription across multiple houses.

In addition, the profile-transfer feature is likely to encourage many people, who had found themselves trapped in a but-I-can’t-abandon-my-shows corner, to finally set up their own account.