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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Netflix announces new “paid sharing” policy

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GRAPHIC: GABRIELLA GUZZARDO ’23/THE HAWK

Are you one of the over 100 million people who logs into a Netflix account using a shared password? If so, you may need to consider alternatives. 

Paid sharing will spread more widely, including in the U.S.,  by the close of the first quarter of the year, or March 31. According to Netflix’s Jan. 19 public letter to its shareholders, which announced the change, account sharing “undermines our long term ability to invent and improve Netflix, as well as build our business.” 

After recording the deepest subscriber loss in a decade in 2022, Netflix said it is looking to monetize users who watch on someone else’s account. 

Under the company’s “paid sharing” policy, which has already been rolled out in other global markets, members can opt to pay extra to share their account with an additional two people who don’t live
with them.

While it has announced monthly fees in other markets, Netflix hasn’t confirmed additional fees for sharing passwords in the U.S.

Many St. Joe’s students share their Netflix accounts and passwords with family members, and rely on someone else to foot the bill for the account while they are at school. John Higgins ’23 is one
of them. 

Higgins said he isn’t sure what he and his family will do when Netflix moves ahead with its paid sharing plan, whether they would opt for a more expensive plan or he would pay his parents for his share of the account’s use.

“It would make things more difficult for my family sharing the account,” Higgins said. 

In the past, the company embraced the fact that its users shared accounts, making tweets such as “Love is sharing a password” or “If you want free Netflix, please use someone else’s account like the rest of us.” The company has since deleted those tweets.

In a April 19, 2022, public letter to shareholders, Netflix acknowledged that password sharing originally may have helped the company reach more users, but said features like profiles and multiple streams, while popular, have “created confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared with other households.”

Michael Solomon, Ph.D., professor of marketing, said from a business perspective, Netflix is right to be concerned about password sharing. But he said the company also has to be careful about
the changes.

“They’re probably well-advised to either integrate this policy very slowly or, even better, to apply it to a small sample of consumers to observe their reactions before they roll it out to their entire market,” Solomon said.

With the addition to Chile, Peru and Costa Rica, which received the new policy earlier this month, Netflix announced Feb. 8 the roll out for Portugal, Canada, New Zealand and Spain.

Gabriela Gonzalez ’25 shares a password to her family’s Netflix account, which her parents pay for. She thinks this decision will be the end of
Netflix altogether. 

“I think it’s going to be the start of their downfall,” Gonzalez said. “I feel like people are still going to have Netflix, but this is just going to make it more complicated, and people are going to get frustrated and just cancel their subscription by the end
of it.”

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