Party’s over—Netflix is putting an end to password sharing by the end of March



Warn your cousins and exes and anyone else sponging off of your Netflix account. The free ride will be coming to an end very, very soon.

Netflix has been threatening since October to begin charging subscribers who share their accounts, but the company has finally put a deadline on the practice. In a letter to shareholders, the company said it would prohibit free password sharing by the end of the first quarter, sometime in the next 10 weeks.

“Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” the company wrote. “While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their account more broadly. So we’ve worked hard to build additional new features that improve the Netflix experience, including the ability for members to review which devices are using their account and to transfer a profile to a new account.”

Password sharing has become a problem for all streaming services and could cost the industry up to $25 billion a year, according to a Citibank report. Netflix has said that more than 100 million households are using accounts paid for by other people.

To account for the losses, Netflix hiked its subscription fees last year and it plans to roll out a paid sharing service in the coming months.

“As we roll out paid sharing, members in many countries will also have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with,” the company said.

It’s a different song that Netflix sang five or six years ago, when it winked at password sharing and was more interested in viewer numbers. The company even encouraged users to share in a 2017 Tweet.

Netflix has already rolled out a test of paid sharing in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru, charging members an extra $2 to $3 to add an additional member account for people living outside a given household.

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