Netflix says no more to password sharing

Netflix could put a stop to password sharing between users with different IPs, forcing them to subscribe ad hoc

How many times, on Facebook or other social networks, have you read:  "Friends wanted to share Netflix subscription"?

Probably a lot, because sharing Netflix's password, and therefore the cost of the subscription, is a fairly widespread practice: according to the same company, about 10% of users do not pay.

It seems little, but it is not at all: Netflix has 160 million users worldwide, so there are at least 15 million non-paying users. A practice long tolerated by Netflix, even though in its own terms of use the company specifies that passwords can only be shared within one's household. Several reports outside of Netflix, however, suggest that before long password sharing may be stopped because streaming services, not just Netflix, lose billions of dollars every year by tolerating it. A situation that has become no longer unsustainable due to the increasing competition in the sector.

How much Netflix loses from password sharing

While Netflix talks about 10% of users "mooching", other reports such as that of Hub Entertainment Research give much more alarming figures: almost a third of subscribers share their account with at least one other person. In most cases, these would be 15.99 euro per month subscriptions, i.e. those that allow Netflix to be watched on four screens in total. According to Park Associates, moreover, the various active streaming services around the world lost almost $9 billion in 2019 due to account and password sharing.

Why Netflix might block password sharing

If until now Netflix has pretended not to see that many of its users share passwords (and it can see this very easily: just track the IP addresses of those who connect), it might soon choose to open its eyes. Competition is increasingly fierce and, now, there are excellent alternative services like Disney+ and Apple TV+. To fight the streaming war you need, above all, exclusive content of the highest quality. To produce this content you need money, a lot of money. Making money will probably require blocking password sharing to charge even those 10% (or even 30%) of users who don't have their own subscription today.