Netflix introducing new anti-password sharing measures soon, your mooching days are over

Leonard Sengere Avatar

It was promised and as the months rolled by we forgot it was coming. We have been rudely reminded that it’s coming and that it’s almost here. Our days of sharing Netflix passwords are numbered.

It was almost a year ago that Netflix, the video streaming service, announced that they would be cracking down on password sharing.

After years of allowing the practice, even encouraging it at times, Netflix’s investors now want the mature company to start turning profits. Allowing 100 million people to mooch off their friends’ accounts is not in keeping with the new mandate. Gone are the days of growth, growth, growth at all costs.

Netflix has been testing out their anti-password sharing measures in a few countries in South America. We knew that to sweeten the deal, Netflix was going to allow account holders to add an extra user for a fee that’s less than the full plan price.

In Costa Rica a standard Netflix plan costs $8.99 but users can add an extra user for only $2.99. Netflix is hoping users take them up on this offer. They say that over 100 million households share passwords and if a decent percentage of them pay the extra $2.99, that translates into a few more coins in the piggybank.

That’s all dandy but how will Netflix stop us from sharing passwords?

Someone over at Netflix jumped the gun and updated their FAQ page to include details on how their anti-password sharing measures will work. They have since deleted that information but you know the internet, once something is out there it’s out there forever.

Netflix’s terms of service say you can share your password but only with people living at the same location as you. It doesn’t matter that it is your child, if they live elsewhere, you should not share your password with them.

To make sure that you abide by this, Netflix will force you to log in to the WiFi at your primary location every month. The now deleted FAQ answers said,

To ensure that your devices are associated with your primary location, Netflix is now asking users to connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days.

If you’re still using your ex’s password it’s going to be inconvenient to keep mooching. You will have to go over to their place and try to connect to their WiFi from some bush. So, pray that they don’t change their WiFi password regularly.

The measure above is simple but should be enough to be inconvenient for many moochers. Will it stop the determined moocher? No, but it will dissuade many a password-sharer from sharing.

How does Netflix know you’re not at your primary location?

It’s easy really,

Netflix uses information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device signed into your account is connected at your primary location.

I know the tech-savvy among us are screaming, ‘that can be fooled’ and yes, you can fool Netflix into thinking you are where you’re not. Only a tiny percentage of the 100 million households sharing passwords will be able to do this.

Won’t this whole ‘log in every month’ business end up punishing the good along with the bad? We talked about how DStv’s anti-password sharing measures seemed to inconvenience the good customer. Netflix knows that people do travel and so may be away from their primary locations sometimes.

Traveling users who want to use Netflix on a hotel smart TV, company laptop, etc. can request a temporary code from the service when signing in. This will give them access to their account for seven consecutive days.

When the 7 days are up you will have to connect to the WiFi at your primary location. So, if you can’t go without Netflix, you will have to plan your travels factoring in the above.

What do you think about Netflix’s upcoming anti-password sharing measures? They are still tweaking them but the leak suggests they will more or less look like what we discussed. Will they work or do you already know how you will go around them?

Also read:

Netflix says don’t share your password, instead pay only $2.99 for an extra member

DStv to restrict users to streaming on one device at a time


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  1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    I’m interested in seeing the outcome of this. I believe they will lose some of their user base as some would justify the cost through the utility of sharing passwords.

    1. The Empress

      Free 99 is a very addictive drug.
      Once you get people used to free stuff for so long that they start to believe it’s a right, they tend to scream and shout when they are told that they will now have to pay.
      Netflix will lose some customers because of this, there’s no doubt about that but that’s probably factored into their calculations but it will be done.
      I have no problem with paying extra what I do have a problem with is the Netflix habit of arbitrarily cancelling shows out of the blue! That is something that might make cancel my Netflix account if it carries on.

  2. Wel Xui

    “In Costa Rica a standard Netflix plan costs $8.99 but users can add an extra user for only $2.99.” — this is quite a deal. I can’t wait to see how people will bypass this

    1. Anonymous

      That’s how Netflix intends to solve this password sharing. They are not looking to ban this completely but to make money off it.

  3. Anonymous

    Isn’t this old News?

    Netflix released the new terms, people started cancelling their Netflix subscriptions, Netflix panicked, then tried to backtracked saying it was a mistake.

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