Netflix Wants All Your Money Because Password Sharing Hurts

It looks like the good old days of sharing a Netflix account's password with a distant acquaintance are coming to an end. The objective is clear — Netflix needs more of that subscription moolah to fund its ever-expanding slate of films and TV shows that now rope in the biggest movie stars demanding a fat paycheck to show their handsome faces and acting chops on the screen. With that in mind, Netflix has announced plans to test two new features that aim to strike a middle ground between business and reason.

The first one is the ability to add an extra member, or two, to an account. Folks with a Standard or Premium plan subscription will be able to add a maximum of two people to their account, even if they don't share a house with them. Each 'unrelated' person added to a parent account will have their own user profile, a curated feed of content recommendations, and – more importantly – their own log-in credentials. Netflix will charge $2.99 to do so in Costa Rica, during the initial test phase. The 'anti-password-sharing' soak test is also being conducted in Chile and Peru.

The mooch has to pay

Next in line is the ability to transfer accounts without losing any of the associated data: that way, if you've been sharing someone else's account, Netflix will allow you to transfer things like your viewing history, personalized recommendations, and My List, and pay for a "legitimate" account in the process. There are two ways to do this. Someone currently borrowing someone else's account for their profile can either transfer all their related data to a new account and pay for it in full, or they can be added as an extra sub-account by paying the $2.99 and making it all official and above-board. 

These plans might be changed down the road when it comes to applying them internationally, the company warns. Netflix insists that it will first understand the how the aforementioned solutions are being used, before it decides on a wider expansion.

Last year, Netflix started showing users a verification prompt, asking if they belong to the same household as the owner of that account. Per the company's terms and services pages, account sharing outside a household is not allowed. However, it is not enforced as strictly as Netflix would apparently like. Chengyi Long, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, writes that password sharing outside a household is impacting the company's "ability to invest in great TV and films" for its audience. In simple words, Netflix wants your integrity — and subscription money — to serve you good content, and it finally may be ready to police that more aggressively.