Over the last two years, Netflix, which was once a streaming juggernaut, has succumbed to losing massive revenue due to various reasons, including but not limited to, reaching a growth stalemate, the rise of other streaming platforms, and funding unsuccessful ventures.
As a way to make up for this, the streamer has decided to limit its password sharing by aiming to implement a geo-lock for each account. To put it simply, one subscription can only be used by one household/IP address. Ironically, it was Netflix themselves who once tweeted about sharing passwords with friends — but those days are now behind us.
Although this new password-sharing rule has not been set into motion worldwide, its policies have invoked plenty of outrage.
While it’s understandable that any company would make strategic changes to cut its losses, there are very valid concerns about this change. Here’s everything that’s wrong with Netflix’s anti-password sharing policy:
1. Invasion of Privacy
One of the biggest breaches to happen through this policy is that Netflix will be actively accessing and delegating your data in a way that will make you wholly uncomfortable.
To begin with, it will analyze which network and IP address are being frequently used by your account to designate it as the “primary” household address. Netflix has not yet shared how it will designed a “primary” household, but the common sense says they will choose the one which you used the most. That’s too much data being consciously checked by the company.
While you can Netflix account on a different Wi-Fi, you will have to log into it using your “primary” household Wi-Fi/data connection every 31 days.
2. Unreasonable “Verification” Process
As mentioned above every device connected to a subscriber’s account has to be logged in with the primary household’s Wi-Fi every 31 days.
It will automatically log out a device and block it if it doesn’t use the primary household Wi-Fi beyond this deadline. That means that big devices like TVs if being used in another household, have to be bought physically to the primary house to be reconnected.
3. It Invalidates Family Sharing
When you’re paying for a set number of screens, in an ideal scenario (which was the case until now), Netflix shouldn’t control where those screens can be used, nor should they limit them to a single household.
Subscribers who are on a family plan but live in separate houses will find this extremely tiresome as it renders the Family sharing useless.
In Peru, where this model is being tested, Netflix is offering to allow users to share their accounts with other households for an additional fee per household. While it may be cost-effective than buying a whole new subscription, this fee isn’t fair to those who are already paying for four screens.
4. Problems in Vacation Mode
According to the information released, Netflix will allow subscribers to access their accounts abroad on vacation mode for up to a week only. This will be possible through a temporary code. But Netflix has not addressed what it aims to do for subscribers who are to go on longer vacations.
5. Change in Primary Household and Shifting Homes
Another issue that Netflix has not addressed is whether or not there will be an avenue to change or reset a subscriber’s primary household. This is an important query for those who may change houses, shift to new locations or even get a new Wi-Fi connection.
Netflix’s anti-password sharing policy is most likely to backfire if it is implemented worldwide. In fact, this may cause them to lose even more subscribers!
A better alternative could’ve been to given each account a limited number of screens that they could use on a limited number of devices, instead of geo-locking to a set household. That way, Netflix could still cut losses by limiting screens per user/account, but allow users the flexibility to use their designated screen anywhere they liked.
Hopefully Netflix’s test run will bring up these concerns and they find a better solution, lest they alienate their remaining clientele.