The Netflix password sharing crackdown is about to begin, but the streaming giant has so far not confirmed how it will enforce it. Netflix recently revealed that password sharing would be stopped by the end of March this year, which has angered many users.
As I wrote previously, Netflix knows a lot about you, because it collects a lot of data, including device IDs, watching habits and IP addresses, which can help break down your location if you aren’t using a VPN.
Netflix could use this data in its password sharing crackdown, according to a document posted accidentally online by the streaming platform. First spotted by streaming testing and news site The Streamable, the document has now been removed.
However, earlier this week, details published in the Netflix help center outlined measures that would help crackdown on password sharing via the devices people use to watch shows and films. This would be done by asking people to verify the devices they use to watch Netflix in their homes each month and all other devices would be blocked, with those users encouraged to open a new account.
In a strange turn of events, the rules were removed from the Netflix website on 1 February. However, Netflix told The Streamable that the rules it published were only meant for people in Latin America where it has rolled out the changes.
“For a brief time yesterday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, went live in other countries,” the spokesperson told The Streamable. “We have since updated it.”
I contacted Netflix directly and the firm sent me the same statement via email. The spokesperson also directed me to comments made in its shareholder letter last month. This highlighted new features “that improve the Netflix experience, including the ability for members to review which devices are using their account and to transfer a profile to a new account.”
“As we roll out paid sharing, members in many countries will also have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with,” the letter reads. “As is the case today, all members will be able to watch while traveling, whether on a TV or mobile device.”
Netflix says changes will be clearly communicated
Netflix was keen to emphasise that it would not quietly bring in such a big change without clearly communicating it to users. This indicates that there may be a different way of actually enforcing the end of password sharing in different regions—perhaps via a small charge for additional accounts rather than a full subscription. Netflix has trialled adding new accounts for $3 in parts of Latin America.
While the enforcement of Netflix’s password sharing crackdown will happen, a spokesperson told The Streamable that some parts will be staggered. This will give the streaming platform time to see people’s reactions to its crackdown, and work out how best to monetise its 100 million password sharing users worldwide.
The password sharing crackdown is set to begin in March, and this has been the biggest clue yet as to what it will look like. While the exact strategy is not set in stone, Netflix has the data to enforce its crackdown and the streaming giant will be hoping it can do so without lots of people closing their accounts.