Netflix Tests ‘Out of Household’ Sub Fees to Prevent Password Sharing

Although clearly against the official terms of service, it would be very naive of us to suggest that it’s not an uncommon practice for many people to share a Netflix account. With the more premium-level services offering multiple simultaneous access to the streaming platform, financially speaking, it makes a lot of sense for a small number of people to ‘club’ together to jointly gain access for a lower fee. – Given that this is ultimately costing them money though, I’m sure many of you can easily understand why Netflix isn’t too happy about such practices taking place.

What can they actually do to stop it though? – Well, following a report via Yahoo, it would appear that Netflix has started trialling a new subscription tier within certain regions that, if not taken up, will effectively block access to the service from any location deemed beyond the account holders ‘household’.

Netflix Clamps Down on Account Sharing – But at What Cost?…

Initially being trialled in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, which we’ll freely concede is a very odd region to test this in, Netflix has reportedly started offering a new subscription tier that will allow for access to the account outside of the ‘householders’ location. With the additional charge representing roughly 30-35% above the ‘base’ level, the clear hope from Netflix is that this will prevent people from sharing accounts across multiple locations and, basically, with other people who, for want of a better word, have no directly ‘family’ or relative locational ties to the account holder.

As you might expect though, such a service has already garnered a lot of criticism from users and especially those who worry that such a new subscription mechanism might be introduced to their region in the future.

What Exactly is a ‘Household’

The term ‘household’ is, despite some elaboration from Netflix, still exceptionally unclear. One would presume that this is basing it upon the IP address. However, as I’m sure some of you are aware, this can change when a router is restarted and/or the internet connection is disrupted. Admittedly, reinitialising the access will likely simply require confirmation via email or, if Netflix is smart enough about this, the relative location should still reasonably pin the location down enough to make the service accessible.

Putting the huge issue of another price hike to one side though, how will this affect people who want to access Netflix while, for example, either working away from home or those who are on holiday? Presuming Netflix does look to implement this in the UK if I take a trip to the seaside and try to watch some TV in bed, am I going to be hit with an error message?… And this is an entirely legitimate and open question as Netflix, so far, hasn’t really elaborated much on this point.

If Netflix does introduce this though, while I might manage to tackle the issue of those who do account share beyond the reasonable aspects of its terms of service, I daresay that the resulting backlash of people dropping their subscriptions entirely will dent their profits enough to make the streaming giant wish they’d never bothered in the first place!

Put simply, while account sharing is a problem, this sounds like a terrible solution!

What do you think though? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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