Netflix set to stop users from account sharing soon


Netflix will soon stop you from sharing your account with people outside your immediate household by making account owners set a “primary location” and checking IP addresses to make sure people are regularly logging in from home.

The company has been testing ways to crack down on password sharing in South America and last week expanded its new measures to a new set of guinea pig customers in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain.

Based on previous statements, Australians can expect the password sharing crackdown to come down under in the coming months.

In a localized help article for New Zealand customers, Netflix said it uses “IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity” to figure out if users are connected to the primary location but that it doesn’t use GPS data”.

Netflix said people travelling will still be able to watch its content on the go, which could involve measures used in South America like temporary travel codes.

Over 100 million households are sharing Netflix accounts around the world, according to the streaming platform, which said shared accounts have been “impacting [its] ability to invest in great new TV and films”.

Getting rid of password sharing is one of two primary measures in Netflix’s search for profitability announced following the loss of 200,000 subscribers in the final quarter of 2022.

It has also introduced a new ad-supported tier which, for $7 per month, gets you a limited library, no higher than 720p video, and no ability to download shows onto your device.

On earnings call in January, Netflix Chief Product Officer Gregory Peters said they wanted to give People “a little bit of a nudge” toward buying their own accounts.

“Part of it is just what we call casual sharing, which is people could pay, but they don’t need to, and so they’re borrowing somebody’s account,” he said.

Aussies like to password share

Australia’s annual Consumer Survey on Online Copyright Infringement asked people about password sharing for the first time in its recently published 2022 report.

It found a quarter of respondents had engaged in “some kind of account sharing activity” either by sharing another person’s account or letting someone share theirs for media consumption accounts, whether that be movies, TV, music, or video games.

People who log into an account paid for by someone else are mostly aged between 12 and 34 years (75 per cent), male (65 per cent), and have a household income over $80,000 a year (52 per cent).

This year’s piracy survey showed an overall stable level of piracy compared with previous years, though there has been a rise in the number of people using illegal streaming services with a third of the respondents who said they streamed any content admitting they did so unlawfully in at least one instance.

Piracy has generally been on the decline since the survey began in 2015, thanks in part to proliferation of legal video streaming methods like Netflix.

It has shown the changing nature of piracy as access to legal video streaming methods, led by Netflix, have proliferated.

Since 2016, ISPs have been ordered to block access to specific known piracy domains.

In 2019, that survey found the number of Australians who were exclusively pirating content dropped by 90 per cent from just the year prior.

Piracy then ticked back up during the pandemic as people were confined to their homes and in need of entertainment, especially live sports broadcasts.

The government is currently reviewing copyright laws to make sure they are fit for purpose.

Streaming platforms will be required to follow the same local content quotas that Australian TV networks must adhere to as part of the government’s arts policy announced late last month.

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