What are Netflix's password sharing rules?

The streaming service launched a 'paid sharing' scheme in the UK in 2023

The Netflix logo
Netflix has cracked down on UK users who share passwords. (Netflix)

A growing number of streaming services are preparing to crack down on users sharing their passwords, according to reports.

Disney+, Hulu, Max and ESPN+ are all said to be preparing to follow in the footsteps on Netflix, which placed curbs on password sharing last year.

Disney boss Bob Iger recently praised Netflix's crackdown and said his own company would launch its "first real foray into password sharing" this summer.

But what exactly are Netflix's restrictions, and can users still share passwords? Here is everything you need to know.

Stranger Things season 4 cast
Netflix is home to hit series including Stranger Things. (Netflix)

Netflix users in the UK used to be able to freely share their account password with friends or family. But the streaming service introduced a 'paid sharing' scheme in the UK in May 2023, in an attempt to boost its subscriptions and profits.

The move means subscribers must now pay an extra £4.99 per month for each person they share their password with outside their household.

Netflix, which is home to hit shows including Stranger Things, Bridgerton and Wednesday, has an estimated 15 million subscribers in the UK, making it the country's most popular paid streaming service.

Before last year's crackdown, around four million users were letting friends and family use their accounts for free, according to reports.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings previously said he was comfortable with users sharing their passwords. "Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with," he said in 2016, "because 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."

Despite facing some backlash over the U-turn, Netflix's new scheme appears to have paid off. The company reported a surge in subscribers at the end of last year.

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in Bridgerton season 3
The streaming giant is preparing to release the third season of Bridgerton. (Netflix)

Netflix last hiked its prices in the UK in October 2023, amid rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

The streaming giant's basic ad-free plan was increased by £1 a month to £7.99, with the cost of the premium option rising by £2 per month to £17.99. Its standard tier remains £10.99 per month.

However, the basic plan is expected to be axed before the end of June 2024, having already been unavailable to new subscribers since June 2023. The move is an apparent attempt to draw subscribers to either its ad-supported plans or the premium tier.

Netflix has yet to announce any possible further price rises in 2024. However, in February, analysts at UBS Securities predicted another hike, saying: "We expect to see rate increases this year."