Netflix is testing a feature that asks viewers if they live in the same household as a subscriber, in a move that would seem to signal a crackdown on the widespread practice of sharing passwords with friends and family.
A number of users have reported seeing a screen saying: “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
Viewers can then verify if they are “allowed” to access the account by entering a code, sent via text or email.
Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ allow users to create multiple profiles within the account, but the terms and conditions specify they are only to be used by people within the same household.
Responding to the new, Mark Inskip, chief executive UK & Ireland of Kantar’s media division, said: “We’ve seen the use of streaming platforms skyrocket in lockdown but services will need to tread carefully as restrictions ease and people look to get back out and socialise. There’s a huge range of choice now and the digital giants are battling for loyalty. Netflix has to keep demonstrating the value of its subscription fee through good quality content. New limits on account use could see people jump ship and viewers who have been piggybacking on family members’ accounts will need to decide if getting their own sub is worth it. Underpinning all of this is understanding who’s watching, how to create must-see programmes for them and therefore how to hang on to hard-won customers.”