Illustration of Netflix and its unhappy users.

Netflix Has Banned Password Sharing

The streaming service appears to be digging its own grave.
February 7, 2023
6 mins read

Netflix has already been the subject of multiple controversies since the media giant began canceling small but popular Netflix original titles to make room for more profitable yet less popular ones. This leaves users questioning whether or not they want to renew their subscriptions. To add additional fuel to the fire, Netflix recently announced that it would be disallowing password sharing, and anyone who wishes to use the streaming platform will need an individual subscription.

Date of Cancellation

A particularly frustrating aspect about this announcement is that Netflix did not specify the exact date that password sharing would end. When the company announced this change in October 2022, they stated that the policy would go into effect in early 2023. Depending on the company’s definition of “early,” this new implementation could take place anytime from January up until March or April. 

The Contradiction of the Company’s Platform

Netflix is known for being a family streaming service. The first thing any user sees when they open the service is the “Who’s watching?” screen, emblazoned with the colorful avatars of everyone mooching off of their Netflix account. Netflix is one of the oldest streaming platforms, and its interface set examples for other services such as Hulu and HBO Max. Most streaming services offer different profile options for family and friends to enjoy together. By implementing this drastic change, it sends the message that Netflix doesn’t care about tarnishing its family-oriented image.

New Pricing

With the roll-out of this change, the company clarified that multiple users can be added to an account for an additional fee, confirming that this change was economically motivated. According to CBS News , “Currently, a Netflix account holder can add up to five profiles on their account. Those profiles will become sub-accounts that cost money starting in early 2023.”

The article went on to state that, “Netflix will now only allow one ‘home’ per account, and additional homes will need to pay extra to use the same account.” This means that while users can access their accounts at locations away from home, everything will still reside under one account. Free access to that account from additional users outside the home will be restricted.

The media giant has already tested this out in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Netflix customers in these countries can add homes to their accounts for an additional $2.99 per month. While Netflix has yet to disclose the projected price of sub-accounts in the US, they will likely maintain their tiered membership prices.

Why Netflix Is Choosing To Do This

Forbes Magazine states, “Amid falling profits this year and declining subscriber numbers, the popular streaming service is about to implement a crackdown on sharing passwords outside of your household.” The article goes on to state that around one million users decided to ditch the service between April and July of 2022.

These subscribers likely left due to the cancellation of popular Netflix originals such as “The Society,” “One Day at a Time,” “Everything Sucks,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Julie and the Phantoms” and many more. These shows were not only fan favorites; they ended on cliffhangers, further infuriating audiences upon their cancellations.

When viewers prompted Netflix to respond to these cancellations, the media titan either brushed off their questions or blamed the coronavirus. For many viewers, these excuses were insufficient, since several productions halted during the pandemic returned under strict safety protocols.

How This Will Affect Users

While it’s understandable that Netflix is worried about lost sales, this announcement has alienated its user base. People will likely cancel their subscriptions or use the streaming service less often.

Many users have voiced their dissatisfaction with the content that the company has chosen to put out over the last few years. Those who remain stick around for the service’s few surviving gems, such as “Stranger Things,” which is getting a fifth season. Shows like “Stranger Things” are in the minority, however, as most Netflix originals never make it to a third season.

What This Means for the Company

Streaming platforms like Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ and Prime Video stand to gain a lot of Netflix’s subscribers in the wake of this change. These companies will likely avoid making issues out of password sharing, as it doesn’t appear Netflix will be successful with this rule. Since other services have not experienced the same level of controversy, they don’t have to worry about their sales as much as Netflix does.

Netflix might be under the belief that canceling password sharing is going to solve their problems and recuperate the money they lost. If anything, removing password sharing might be the final nail in the coffin for the dying service.

Andrea Cepeda, University of North Texas

Writer Profile

Andrea Cepeda

University of North Texas
Creative Writing

First year college student majoring in creative writing. I love reading and writing, mainly fiction, but I am open to all genres.

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