Netflix has announced that it is testing a fee for subscribers who want to share their accounts with people who do not live in the same house.
Netflix has long allowed subscribers to share account passwords with family members or friends. However, the number of Netflix subscribers has recently dropped sharply due to stiff competition in the streaming market, particularly from Disney. According to Netflix, improperly sharing accounts outside of the household impacted "its members' ability to invest in new TV shows and movies." According to the company's terms of service, an account "must not be shared with individuals outside of your household," but this rule is not followed.
Ms. Chengyi Long, Product Innovation Manager at Netflix, announced on its official blog that the US-based company is looking for a way for service subscribers to share accounts with people other than their family for a small fee. In the coming weeks, the company will begin testing the ability for subscribers in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru to add up to two people to a "sub-account" for a monthly fee of $2 to $3. Netflix will conduct a review of the test results in these three countries before rolling them out to the rest of the world.
The decision comes after Netflix repeatedly stated that users sharing passwords with friends and family were harming the company's earnings. Users will now have to pay an additional fee and the subscription fee if they want to share their password with someone other than their family.
Members of Netflix's Standard and Premium plans will be able to add extra accounts for up to two people they do not live with using the "Add Extra Members" feature. Everyone will have their profile, personalized recommendations, login, password and will be charged less than the price of a separate Netflix plan.
In a post on his blog, director Long shared:
"We've always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix accounts, with features like "Separate profiles'' and "Multiple streams" in the Standard and Premium plans. However, it creates some uncertainty about when and how to share Netflix. Unauthorized account sharing between households impacts genuine Netflix users' ability to invest in quality new TV shows and movies. "
According to Netflix: "We understand that people have many options for entertainment, so we want to make sure that any new features are flexible and useful to members. Before implementing the changes anywhere else in the world, we'll work to understand the utility of these two features to members in the three pilot countries."
Netflix tested a feature last year that required users who "pull" an account to re-enter their login information to continue using the service.