Netflix has revealed that it will look for ways to curb password sharing. As it stands, users can sign into Netflix on as many devices as they want, with the only limitation being how many can stream at the same time (depending on the plan). Naturally, this allows people to share their accounts with family or friends.
During a recent interview Netflix’s CFO, Spencer Neumann was asked about the company’s approach to the practice of sharing passwords and how it will deal with it.
We continue to monitor it. We’re looking at the situation and we’ll look for those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that.
However, he noted that Netflix has “no big plans to announce at this time in terms of doing something different” with how password sharing works. Therefore, it’s unclear what changes Netflix might make to password sharing in the future but it may involve limiting devices or IP addresses.
Given how much popular the practice of sharing passwords is, it’s possible that Netflix would want to reduce the number of devices an account can be registered to – like how Sony does. Sony allows users to share content between PlayStation 4 systems by logging into the same account, although it limits this functionality to two consoles. Trying to do this with more than 4 consoles could get an account blocked.
Netflix’s VPN battle
If Netflix does decide to crack down on password sharing at some point, it will be similar to their ongoing fight against VPN usage. During the first years of Netflix’ streaming service, it was fairly easy to pretend you are streaming from a different country, in order to access a larger content library (also known as Geo-Bypassing).
But in 2016, following pressure from content production companies, Netflix upped their game and started to block Geo-Bypassing services and VPNs. However, the ban of VPNs was so broad, that even people who were using VPNs for other purposes – such as protecting their privacy – were unable to watch Netflix (even their local one) while their VPN was on. Despite that, however, services that let you watch American Netflixanywhere in the world still exist.
Anyway, it seems password sharing is a much more common habit than Geo-Bypassing, which might explain why Netflix now talks about “consumer-friendly” ways of fighting it – as to not anger all those who use it. For now, though, people can continue to share their Netflix accounts with one another with peace of mind.