Netflix introduces new fee as crackdown on password sharing begins
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The streaming giant has sent a letter to almost four million British subscribers that it has identified as people outside their home free access.
Netflix reminded customers that an account “is for use by one household” and it “is for you and the people you live with”.
About a quarter of Netflix’s 15 million UK subscribers are estimated to share their password, according to research firm Digital-i.
The firm now says those who want to share their account password with friends and family outside their household must pay £4.99 to do so.
The company said in the email: “Starting today, we will be sending this email to members who are sharing Netflix outside their household in the United Kingdom. A Netflix account is for use by one household.
“Everyone living in that household can use Netflix wherever they are – at home, on the go, on holiday – and take advantage of new features like Transfer Profile and Manage Access and Devices.”
It added that users could review which devices are signed in to their account and “sign out of devices that shouldn’t have access and consider changing your password”.
The “extra member” feature is currently not available to users who sign up through third parties.
Companies including Sky, Virgin Media and BT have been advised by Netflix to expect potential backlash from customers who watch programmes and films through its services.
It comes after Netflix began a crackdown on account sharing last year in countries including New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and Canada.
Netflix previously estimated that more than 100 million households share passwords despite it being against its official rules and the company wanted to make more money through this extra audience.
The move is intended to boost subscribers after growth rates slowed down. But when the password sharing crackdown was introduced in Spain, and Netflix started charging 5.99 euros (£5.27) for an additional account, it lost more than a million subscribers in the first three months of the year, according to Kantar.
It has changed its tune since 2017 when the firm wrote on Twitter that “Love is sharing a password”.
The firm recently introduced a subscription at £4.99 a month in the UK to respond to the cost of living crisis, and it includes advertising for the first time.