Fear the Fee: Netflix’s Password Sharing Crackdown


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As Netflix begins to crack down on password sharing for their popular streaming service, customers fear the fee—20 dollar fees. Sharing Netflix passwords with friends and family outside of one’s household has become increasingly popular, especially with the influx of popular shows on the platform, such as Bridgerton, or new movies, like the star-studded Get Out.


Many speculators believe that this will drop Netflix’s subscription count—growth has almost halted in the last few quarters—but Netflix is already the largest streaming service in the world. The decision was made because investors were pressuring Netflix to maintain profitability. Costs are up and people have less money to spend, but trends show that more people are interested in platforms with consistent releases of original content, namely Disney+. With movies falling under Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar, Disney+ is flowing with stories and shows that amass major fan bases.


Original content is fundamental for the survival of streaming services. Unlike Disney+, Hulu (owned by Disney), and HBO Max, Netflix is not backed by movie studios or enterprises, relying solely on itself to produce fresh content and maintain profits. They can take a hit because they have amassed a large sum of profits in the past decade, but the future may be looking grim.


The outcry against password-sharing fees has exposed the number of households that truly take part in violating Netflix’s policy. As states begin to take their ranking, “Ohio places first, with 59% of watchers reporting they use someone else’s Netflix account”, according to NBC Chicago 5


As many customers consider switching platforms, Netflix attempts to justify the reason for the increase in prices. One internal reason can be found in the hypothesis that “about half of non-paying Netflix password-sharing households will become paying members… sign[ing] up for their own separate paid account”. Similarly, the increase in prices clearly increases Netflix’s revenue as a new Wall Street analysis shows that “if successfully rolled out globally” this plan “could add a cool $1.6 billion to Netflix’s top line”.


While some customers are outraged, others aren’t giving it a second thought as the amount of viable streaming services has grown exponentially in the past 18 months. Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max, just to name a few, have competitive prices and do not appear to be hopping on the password-sharing bandwagon.


When looking for a platform to binge the latest and greatest, reconsider your options and keep in mind that Netflix is always watching who you share your password with. Like Big Brother, their eyes are always on the lookout.