Two months after the start of the paid account sharing tests, the results are falling, and they are bad.
A few months ago, Netflix announced that it wanted to make a rather radical decision to stop account sharing free of charge between people not from the same household. From now on, sharing your account with a friend, a distant cousin or even your ex will make you pay an extra few euros on the original subscription. In March, Peru, Costa Rica and Chile were the first to be affected by this measure.
Faced with this announcement, many users have already pointed out the flaws in this new system, but have also denounced the ever more capitalist nature of Netflix, which is increasing the price of its subscriptions with a vengeance and which sees there an opportunity in or to make more money by charging for something that has always been free so far. These people will be delighted to know that Netflix’s new system seems to be going down a rather chaotic path.
The disaster of account sharing “à la Netflix”
Two months after the start of the tests in the 3 South American countries, the feedback is very mixed. The magazine Rest of World released a report today showing how Netflix is struggling to stop account sharing, especially in Peru. First, subscribers complain about a lack of communication… which has sometimes worked in their favor. Several dozen subscribers said they had not been informed of the firm’s decision through an email or an official notification.
Some of them therefore continued to live their lives and share their accounts without worrying about it, while others received random repercussions, having to pay the additional charge of 2.71 dollars per month. The general incomprehension also involves the fact that it is difficult to control those who share their account in a “fraudulent” way (at least in their eyes).
There are many cases in which one or more members of the same household find themselves having to connect to their Netflix account outside the household area itself (business trip, vacation, overnight trip, work itinerant, etc.). It then becomes more complicated to understand which people are squatting and which are not. Netflix seems to be aware of this nuance since a Peruvian customer service representative explains to the media anonymously that they have already given access codes to those who request them, while they explain that they are outside their homes.
Netflix is stubborn and risks going all the way
However, this situation does not seem to worry the red N. Despite these more than mixed results, the tests are still in progress, we do not know for how long, and they should affect larger regions of the world in the coming months. A Netflix spokesperson also explains to The Verge :
“AWhen we started working on paid sharing over 18 months ago, we’ve been clear for five years: a Netflix account is for people who live together in the same household. The millions of members actively sharing an account in these countries have been notified via email, but given the significance of this change, we are increasing in-product notifications more slowly. We are satisfied with the response received to date.”
On the user side, the tone is rising. While the firm is recording much weaker growth than usual, unlike other SVOD services which are skyrocketing, many subscribers are likely to flee once the measure has reached them. Worse still, some controversial workarounds may well take over and send Netflix unwillingly plummeting. It remains to be seen how this will go in the coming months.