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May 24, 2023

Netflix ends password sharing. What does this mean for subscribers?

Users must transfer non-household viewers to separate accounts or pay an monthly extra fee

Entertainment Netflix
netflix password sharing Sunder Muthukumaran/Unsplash

Netflix has begun taking action to eliminate password sharing in the U.S.

The days of ex-partners and former friends holding onto each other's Netflix passwords are officially coming to an end.

After months of teasing a crackdown, Netflix is taking action to eliminate password sharing in the U.S., the company announced on Tuesday. Under the newly-implemented policies, subscribers must either cough up an extra $7.99 a month to allow people outside of their homes to continue using their accounts or remove the extra users altogether.

Netflix streamers with non-household account users will soon receive not-so-subtle nudges. An email is being sent from the company reminding subscribers that Netflix accounts are not meant to be shared between households.

"Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with — your household," the email reads.

Netflix has previously estimated that over 100 million households worldwide share an account, CNN reported. The company initially ignored password sharing, alleging it nourished growth for the platform. But last year the streamer changed its tune, announcing that it was going to crack down on password sharing because it hurts its overall net income. 

The company has already made moves to shut down password sharing in other countries like Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. In each market so far, Netflix has reported seeing a "cancel reaction" which gives way to "increased acquisition and revenue."

So, what exactly does Netflix's latest action mean for the streaming service's subscribers?

To find out whether they have password sharers on the chopping block, users can log in to Netflix and tap the profile icon in the upper-right corner. From there, users can click "Account," scroll to "Security and Privacy" and choose "Manage access and devices." There, subscribers can review the most recent active devices.

If outside users are located, streamers can transfer that person's profile, meaning the profile will be conserved but will be exported to a separate membership that they fund themselves.

Generous Netflix subscribers may decide they want to keep the extra viewers on their accounts — which would cost an extra $7.99 per person per month — although that depends on which of Netflix's four subscription plans a user is signed up for. 

The cheapest plans, Netflix Standard With Ads for $6.99 per month and Netflix Basic for $9.99 per month, do not allow for any outside users to be added. 

The Netflix Standard plan, which costs $15.49 per month, lets subscribers add one person outside the household for $7.99 per month. Netflix Premium, which costs $19.99 per month, allows two people outside the household to be added for $7.99 per month each.

Under these new policies, users who want to allow two outsiders on their plan would be maxing out at about $36 per month. Compare this to other streaming services that do not yet have password sharing restrictions in play — and average $6 to $15 monthly — and Netflix subscribers may begin pondering whether they really want to see the new seasons of "Stranger Things" or "Wednesday" that badly.

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