If you’ve been using someone else’s Netflix account to save money, you may want to start making alternative plans for streaming your favorite shows.
The popular on-demand streaming service has been working for a while to eliminate the ethically-questionable practice of sharing passwords.
And its latest policy tests, which were announced in March 2022 and will take effect soon in a handful of countries, may be a sign of things to come for U.S.-based streamers who try to share an account with people outside their household.
Let’s take a look at what these new policies are and how they could soon impact the wallets of streamers around the globe.
Netflix Sets Test Policies Aimed at Charging for Streaming Outside of Subscriber Household
On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Netflix’s Director of Innovation Chengyi Long announced two new policy tests that are going into action this month.
Both are designed to force users who don’t actually live in the subscriber household to pay for their access to Netflix:
- Add an Extra Member: Members on our Standard and Premium plans will be able to add sub accounts for up to two people they don’t live with – each with their own profile, personalized recommendations, login and password – at a lower price: 2,380 CLP in Chile, 2.99 USD in Costa Rica, and 7.9 PEN in Peru;
- Transfer Profile to a New Account: Members on our Basic, Standard, and Premium plans can enable people who share their account to transfer profile information either to a new account or an Extra Member sub account – keeping the viewing history, My List, and personalized recommendations.
Users in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru will be the test subjects for these new policies, which could be expanded to the United States if they prove successful in cutting down password sharing.
Long revealed in the blog post where the test policies were announced that they’ve been under construction for some time now, and tactfully explained that they’re a product of some subscribers having “confusion” about when and how accounts can be shared within and between households. Wink, wink.
How This Could Impact U.S. Netflix Streamers in the Near Future
At this point in time, Netflix subscribers in the United States should see no impact from these announced changes. But if they’re successful in the three pilot countries, many Americans may have to reconsider how they access Netflix.
Let’s look at a few possible scenarios if these policies make their way to the United States.
If You Use Someone Else’s Netflix Account and Plan To Stick With It
You may be a candidate for the “Add an Extra Member” program.
Netflix has been taking measures to identify when an account has been accessed by a device that is not “within the household” of the paying subscriber, and one could expect things to get more aggressive on that front.
As described above, the “Add an Extra Member” feature would allow the paying subscriber to add up to two people to their approved list of users in exchange for paying a little bit extra each month.
Let’s say you’ve been using a friend’s Netflix login information.
This policy would allow you to continue to have your own Netflix profile within their subscription, but you’d be able to pay much less than the $10 to $20 per month Netflix requires for a standalone subscription.
While potential pricing for the United States is still unknown, the test price in Chile equates to $2.99 per month per person. That seems like a fair as to get you to become “legitimate” as a paying account access borrower.
If You’ve Broken Things Off With Your “Netflix Buddy” but Still Want Your Content
The announced “Transfer Profile to a New Account” functionality may be useful in the United States for a handful of reasons.
Netflix designed this policy to allow people who used to live in the same household to part ways.
While Netflix mostly just wants people to pay for their own service, this new policy may be a godsend for users who want to break away from someone with whom they’ve been sharing an account.
Maybe your relationship with your significant other ended, but you’ve spent years building a Netflix streaming profile in the household. Or perhaps you were college roommates with someone, and now it’s time to move back home and start your streaming life without them.
Under the current policies, you may be enticed to “cheat the system” by sharing a password with these people in an effort to keep your cost down and your watch list intact.
The “Transfer Profile to a New Account” policy could be your way out if it makes it through the test pilot.
It would allow you to resolve your situation by doing one of the following:
- Moving your profile to a new Netflix account and keeping your content saved while starting a bill of your own
- Moving your profile to an existing Netflix account, keeping your content saved while you pay to be one of their two “Extra Members”
While these new policies have no impact on American Netflix streamers today, they’re definitely worth monitoring in the weeks and months ahead to see if they gain momentum in testing.
Netflix password sharers already are experiencing crackdowns on the number of devices allowed to stream from one account. And with location detection technology becoming more intuitive, it is reasonable to expect that Netflix is going to continue to hunt for abnormalities that would indicate multiple households are using one account.
So while these policies seem like a potential hindrance on the surface, in the long run, Netflix may simply be offering you a few new cost-effective ways to come “above board” with your content sharing habits.
And Team Clark is all right with that. While we love a good deal, we also believe in getting them ethically.
Do you share Netflix with people in other households? Share your opinion about this potential policy change in our Clark.com Community.
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