Netflix rule change will soon block millions of users from password sharing

The streaming giant has announced a new option to add paid sharing

Netflix has announced a major change to the way users can access its services in a move that could leave millions of people blocked from viewing content.

The streaming giant is set to charge users for sharing their password with someone outside their immediate household.

The controversial and unpopular update has now been confirmed after being rumoured last year and has already been rolled out in parts of Central and South America. Netflix will offer an option to add paid sharing, which is less expensive than a full plan.

Netflix are clamping down on password sharing. Is it illegal to do so? Picture: Olivier DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

Confirming the news, in the company’s earning report, which was published earlier this week, Netflix said: "Later in Q1, we expect to start rolling out paid sharing more broadly. Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business."

"While our terms of use limit the 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.

“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. As is the case today, all members will be able to watch while travelling, whether on a TV or mobile device."

The firm has not provided a date when the new changes will be implemented worldwide, but Netflix said the measures will come in the first quarter of this year. There is also no news on how much the password-sharing option will cost, but it is offered in some markets for $3 (£0.81), according to Forbes.

How much does a Netflix subscription cost?

Netflix members will be charged once a month, from the date signed up. There is the option of four plans:

Basic with adverts

This plan is the cheapest, and costs £4.99 a month. Users can watch on one supported device at a time, and some films and TV programmes are unavailable. This is the only plan with adverts.

Basic

Basic plans can be watched on one device, with unlimited TV programmes and mobile games available. This option costs £6.99 a month.

Standard

The standard plan costs £10.99, and users can watch content on two supported devices at a time, with unlimited films, TV programmes, and mobile games. Unlike the above two plans, customers can watch in full HD, and downloads can be supported on two devices at a time.

Premium

Premium plans allow users to watch on four supported devices at a time, in Ultra HD. This plan costs £15.99 a month and also has unlimited films, TV programmes, and mobile games and download can be supported on four devices at a time.