For years now, Netflix has openly allowed users to share their accounts with other people, but that might be soon changing.
As first reported by The Streamable, some people are receiving a special message when they try to log into a Netflix account that isn’t theirs.
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” reads the message. The user is then unable to access Netflix until they verify the account with an e-mail or text message code or start a free 30-day trial (which is no longer offered in Canada).
According to The Streamable, this message is only appearing to a small number of Netflix users on TV devices. In a statement to the outlet, a Netflix spokesperson said “the test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
The company didn’t elaborate on whether it plans to expand the test to more users or launch this feature officially. It’s also unclear where, exactly, the tests are being conducted.
In any case, the test marks a major change for Netflix, which has so far not limited the number of devices that can share an account. Instead, the service simply caps the number of people who can stream under the same account simultaneously — up to four people depending on the subscription tier.
In late 2019, the streaming giant did confirm that it was looking into ways to limit password sharing “in a consumer-friendly way” but stressed that nothing concrete was in the works. Prior to this new March test, though, the company hadn’t done anything to limit password sharing, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic as many more people are using its service.
However, the streaming market continues to become more saturated with relative newcomers like HBO Max (U.S. only) and Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access in Canada), and ever-growing services like Disney+, which recently topped 100 million subscribers in its first 16 months.
All the while, about 33 percent of Netflix users share their passwords with at least one other person, according to research firm Maguid. Therefore, it’s easy to see why Netflix might become more restrictive when it comes to password sharing.
Source: The Streamable