Say Goodbye to Mooching Netflix Passwords

Starting in 2023, free added profiles will have to be paid for as a 'sub-account' or create own new account
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2022 7:45 AM CDT
Say Goodbye to Mooching Netflix Passwords
A logo for Netflix is seen on a remote control in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 13, 2020.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

If you've been watching Netflix using a shared password, those free viewing days are about to come to an end. The streaming service announced this week that, starting in "early 2023," just one "home" will be allowed per account, while those extra profiles that many people have added on (you're allowed five in total) will no longer be gratis. How it will work, per CBS News: If you have someone on your main account now as an extra profile, you'll be able to add them as an "extra member," and their profile will convert to a "sub-account"—but it's one you'll have to pay for. Or, that person can opt to transfer their profile that's currently linked to your account to a new, independent account (one they'll have to pay for), and all of their viewing history and recommendations will transfer over.

Netflix says that "travel" is part of the deal—which means those who live in the main account-holder's household can still use the service on their tablets, laptops, or phones when outside the home—but Kiplinger notes that could prove to be "complicated," as "members of a single, paying household could be far-flung when they travel." (One analyst tells Forbes that the company could even go so far as using fingerprint or face recognition.) How much extra it's going to cost for the sub-accounts is unclear, but the plan has already been tested in several Latin American countries, and the "extra member" fee there has been about 25% of the price of a "standard" Netflix plan, per CNET. According to that outlet, that means the cost here in the States would be somewhere between $3.50 and $4 per month.

Password-sharing has always been a double-edged sword for Netflix, with the company noting that "sharing likely helped fuel our growth by getting more people using and enjoying Netflix," per Kiplinger. Still, with an estimated 100 million households taking part in the sharing-without-paying scheme, that's cut into the company's revenues and forced it to look at ways to bring more cash in. Toward that end, Netflix is also launching a "Basic With Ads" subscription plan in November that allows users to pay just $7 per month for the service, with the trade-off being they have to watch ads. The most popular Netflix plan, which is ad-free, costs $15.50 per month. This new option "will bring in a lot more members" and "lead to a significant incremental revenue and profit stream," Netflix COO and Chief Product Officer Gregory Peters said Tuesday in an earnings call, per CBS. (More Netflix stories.)

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