Netflix has finally responded to information that surfaced last week about how to approach account sharers. A “mistake” that says less than we think here in the Netherlands, but don’t get too excited too soon.
After years of speculation, small-scale tests, and shareholder complaints, Netflix unveiled measures last year that we had feared for years. The issue of account sharing, which is also happening en masse in the Netherlands, will be addressed.
Netflix is cracking down on account sharers
Every password shared is another subscriber less, and that costs money. Very, very high turnover. The streaming service continued to grow so rapidly that the growing problem didn’t need to be addressed right away. Until last year, growth stopped suddenly. Netflix immediately intervened by revealing measures that sometimes even went literally against the principles previously communicated by the company.
Not only did huge rounds of layoffs follow, but the streaming service also quickly launched a new subscription with ads. The biggest news, though, was the announcement that Netflix would finally take a concrete approach to account sharing in 2023. But how? After all, the company has tried various methods over the years.
Support page appeared
Recently there was a clear answer to that important question. A support page for Costa Rican subscribers to the streaming service explained how Netflix will restrict password sharing. Devices on which you are signed in with your subscription must be connected to the main Wi-Fi network of the primary location where the subscription was made at least once a month. In other words: You cannot stream your favorite series in Utrecht for two months in a row without visiting the account owner in Maastricht.
A drastic measure, with serious consequences. In testing, Netflix tried another way to ease the pain: Accounts that consistently benefited from a subscription remotely were notified that they could get their own subscription for a lower fee than you’d normally pay for a Netflix subscription.
Love is sharing a password.
-netflix (@netflix) March 10, 2017
Netflix responds to the ‘mistake’
Anyway, we will explain more about the exact operation of the measures in this article. It finally became clear how Netflix will treat account sharers this year, thanks to a random Help page in Costa Rica. At least, that’s what we think.
After much anger from subscribers, the company has now responded. The controversial help page went offline and what was a “new policy” last week is now “a bug.”
“Yesterday, a help center article with information only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru was also briefly visible in other countries.” a Netflix spokesperson said The Streamable. “We have since adjusted it.”
The method is not yet final
The company also says that it is still experimenting. In other words: the method of targeting account sharers that is now being tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru is not necessarily the method that will also be applied in the Netherlands. Netflix is, especially after this uproar, well aware of how sensitive this whole topic is. That is precisely why you want to test thoroughly first. Hence the fact that these help pages are only visible in the markets where the tests are applied, to avoid confusion and problems.
That’s the “mistake” Netflix is talking about: the fact that we were able to read that help page in the first place. Shared accounts will still be addressed, there’s nothing wrong with that from a streaming service standpoint. However, we should not draw too many conclusions about what exactly the specific focusing method will be like, because everything that happens now is still a test, an experiment, according to the company.
Very good, then wait. The Netflix spokesperson also emphasizes that the company will never implement new password sharing policies without “first communicating to customers.” Until then, it will only be the tests that do not make you happy. To be continue!
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