Netflix experienced rapid changes in 2022. Hot on the heels of announcing a new ad-supported tier, Netflix changed its mind about Extra Home, a feature it introduced earlier in 2022.
Here’s what you need to know.
A Netflix email informed subscribers of the end of its Extra Home Feature. The company announced that it would get rid of this feature on October 18th, 2022—less than four months after it was launched. The email read:
In our commitment to provide the best possible experience, we’ve decided to discontinue this feature, along with the “Manage Homes” feature, effective October 18th, 2022. Any extra homes you may have purchased will be removed from future bills.
Additionally, Netflix’s help center has accordingly been updated and now it says that:
People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix.
Netflix will not automatically charge you if you share your account with someone who doesn’t live with you. However, when the borrower tries to use your account, they’ll receive warnings and verification alerts, and you will be prompted to perform a change of address.
Starting in 2023, Netflix will start to crack down on password sharing by imposing an additional cost, but the company already starting testing its plans in Latin America. According to a CNET report:
… this scheme is already being tested in a few Latin American countries and charges a fee for each extra member worth roughly one-quarter the price of a “standard” Netflix plan.
If Netflix immigrates its Latin American policy to the US, then each extra member subaccount in the US could possibly cost up to $4/ month.
It’s been reported that Netflix will take password-sharing more seriously in 2023. This is a sign to its subscribers that more password enforcement is coming down the pike.
One strong driver of this policy is its streaming wars with other streaming giants like Amazon and Disney+, which have eaten into Netflix’s revenues and subscriber growth. Meanwhile, Netflix’s base of over 220 million subscribers has underperformed financially because over 73 million subscribers worldwide share Netflix passwords.
Thus, Netflix is cracking down on password sharing after realizing this will help to raise more revenues out of existing subscribers.
How Netflix Will Enforce the Change
Using your IP address, Netflix is able to match your account to your actual house. In other words, Netflix probably knows where you live.
As a MeriStation report explains:
From now on, the company will verify accounts through IP Address, device IDs and account activity. This may cause an issue for those who use VPNs to access content not available in their region: should the IP Address change unexpectedly, users will need to verify all of their information to continue using the service.
To verify your device, Netflix will share a four-digit code to the email address or phone number associated with the primary account owner. This code will need to be entered on the device that requested it within 15 minutes.
That is just part of Netflix’s plans to stop password sharing. The company has also introduced a new subscription plan. Netflix’s Basic with Ads will offer some of Netflix’s best content for $3 less. The caveat, as you can probably tell, is that you’ll have to sit through ads before and during a show or movie.
Moreover, Netflix introduced Profile Transfer, a feature that lets you transfer your profile and all your data into a new account. That way, it’ll be easier for people sharing an account to subscribe to Netflix without losing any important data.
The Party Is Over
As Netflix has noted, people move, families grow, and relationships end. Thus, one might say the party is largely over for password freeloaders. Maybe password sharing won’t end entirely. But Netflix wants to make it harder and more expensive.