Netflix launched new fees in four countries last week, and more are coming.
Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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8 min read
The end of freeNetflixpassword sharing has begun: Last week, the streaming service began rolling out a system that charges fees for "extra member" subaccounts when people outside one household use the same membership, launching in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. More countries, including the US, are expected to get the new charges as the initiative rolls out globally.
For years, Netflix was relatively lax about password sharing. Netflix tweeted "love is sharing a password" once, and founder Reed Hastings said in 2016 that heloves when people share Netflix. But last year, Netflix started testing ways to "monetize account sharing" after recording its deepest subscriber losses in a decade. In addition to the password-sharing fees, Netflix has also launchedcheaper subscriptions supported by advertising, hoping to entice more people to pay for Netflix if they don't have to pay quite as much.
Netflix's dominance of streaming video -- not to mention years of unflagging subscriber growth -- pushed nearly all of Hollywood's major media companies to pour billions of dollars into their own streaming operations. These so-calledstreaming warsbrought about a wave of new services, includingDisney Plus,HBO Max,Peacock,Paramount PlusandApple TV Plus. This flood of streaming options has complicated how many services you must use (and, often, pay for) to watch your favorite shows and movies online.
Now, under pressure from the intensifying competition, Netflix is pursuing strategies it had dismissed for years, including an account-sharing crackdown.
How much does password-sharing cost?
The company hasn't specified prices for these new charges in the US yet, but our best guess is that extra members will cost about $7.50 a month.
Prices so far vary by country, but the latest countries hit by fees are being asked to pay more than was charged in initial tests -- that is, the fees got pricier during Netflix's official rollout.
In Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, where these fees were first tested since last year, the average charge for an extra member subaccount was priced at roughly 25% the cost of a Standard plan in each country, on average. That means ifNetflixwere to stick to that practice, then each extra member subaccount in the US would cost between about $3.50 and $4 per month.
But last week, Netflix launched the fees in the first wave of countries as part of its official worldwide rollout of account sharing. And in these countries -- Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain -- the prices for extra members are meaningfully higher, sometimes twice as much. On average, Netflix set the fee for extra members in these first-wave countries at 43% the price of a Standard plan in each country.
And Canada, which is the market most closely linked to the US, is being charged the most: Each extra member is priced at nearly half what you pay for a Standard plan there.
If Netflix applies the Canadian practice to the US, then each extra member subaccount would be about $7.50.
(By comparison, Netflix's cheapest tier in the US -- Basic With Ads -- is $7 a month. And in countries where the Basic With Ads tier is available and account-sharing also just rolled out, the pricing relationship is consistent there too: The price for extra members is a bit higher than you'd pay to watch Netflix with commercials through Basic With Ads.)
Who pays the password-sharing fee?
Extra members have their own account and password, but their extra member "slot" is paid for by the account owner who invited them to join the existing membership.
Since the model creates separate log-in credentials, it isn't really password sharing anymore. (Netflix uses the term "paid account sharing.") But the main account holder will be the person paying for both the regular subscription and the new subaccount.
When will Netflix start charging for password sharing in my country?
Last week, it launched the scheme in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. In January, Netflix indicated that a full, global rollout will take a couple of quarters.
But Netflix hasn't specified a timeline for when other countries will get the fees.
"We're ready to roll those out later this quarter. We'll stagger that a bit as we work through sets of countries," Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said in January, referring to the first quarter of 2023. "But we'll really see that happen over the next couple of quarters."
How will Netflix enforce it? Will it block my account if I share?
The short answer is: We don't really know yet.
Netflix updated help-center pages last week that are tailored for the countries where the fees are now active, and these pages outline a system that will likely reflect the full rollout of these policies worldwide.
Unfortunately, enforcement is less clear now than it was in Netflix's previous language about account sharing, and Netflix isn't commenting on enforcement much beyond what is explained in the help center.
Netflix's enforcement also varied during the tests in Latin America,according toone report.
The current policies hinge on your account's "primary location" and the devices that connect to the Wi-Fi network there. Netflix help-center pages say your primary location is the main place you watch Netflix; you can set this primary location through a series of steps in the Netflix app on a TV. A Netflix spokeswoman said that members may get an "interstitial" message to set their primary location -- basically, a pop-up prompt on your TV's Netflix app.
Netflix's help-center pages also say that if a primary location hasn't been set, the service will automatically set one based on IP address, device IDs and account activity. However, the help-center pages also say that if you don't watch Netflix on a TV (or don't have one), you do not need to set a primary location for your account. (CNET reached out for clarification, but Netflix declined to specify further.)
Regardless, Netflix's help center also says the company doesn't collect GPS data to to determine precise physical location of your devices. "We use the IP address from the Netflix device or app to assume its general location (such as city, state/province, and postal code)," the policies state. "For example, your primary location may be displayed as 'near city, state/province.'"
You can also update or change your primary location from a TV anytime.
Previously, Netflix's help-center pages included language about "trusted devices," which were any device that logged in to Netflix on the primary location's Wi-Fi network at least once every 31 days. Netflix appears to have removed all references to "trusted devices" and "31 days" from its account-sharing policies now.
But Netflix will distinguish between devices that are accessing Netflix while traveling (which is permitted) versus those that are watching Netflix elsewhere because the viewer lives in a different household (which is not permitted). According to a spokeswoman, if a device logs in to Netflix on the primary location's Wi-Fi network about once a month, it should avoid any disruptions, according to a spokeswoman. (And, again, Netflix's policies say you can change your primary location anytime from a TV.)
But what are those possible disruptions? Previously, Netflix's help-center pages included language about device-specific blocks, as in: If a device persistently accesses an account outside the primary location, then it may be blocked from watching Netflix. But the current help-center pages now appear to have removed references to device blocks, so it's unclear how Netflix will be enforcing the restrictions against watching Netflix from a different household. A Netflix spokeswoman declined to comment further.
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Can I share a low-price Basic account with extra members?
No -- at least, not in any of the countries where these fees have been activated. These "extra member" fees are available only on Standard and Premium plans, which both allow more than one simultaneous stream.
Standard plans can have one extra member, and Premium plans can have two.
So far, Netflix hasn't offered an option for these "extra member" fees on its Basic plans, which now are available in some countries as two options: a pricier Basic account that's ad-free and a cheaper Basic With Ads. In the US, the ad-free Basic tier is $10 per month, and the ad-supported level is $7 a month. (For context, a US Standard plan is $15.50 and Premium is $20.)
Both the ad-free and ad-supported Basic plans limit your viewing to a single simultaneous stream, which makes account-sharing functionally difficult.
Do extra member subaccounts have any limitations?
Extra member subaccounts get only one simultaneous stream, and downloads can be stored on only one phone or tablet at a time.
They also can have only one profile, which can be entirely new or it can be based on a profile transferred from another account. While this single extra-member profile can set different maturity ratings, it can't be a Kids profile, which has a special look and feel designed specifically for children.
And an extra member must create the subaccount in the same country as the main account owner. (But once activated, the extra member can watch from anywhere.)
Will I lose all my recommendations if I get kicked off someone else's account or have to open a subaccount?
Netflix has created aprofile-transfer feature, which it launched last year. Profile transfer has been a key component of the password-sharing fees tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. This feature lets the watch history and recommendations of a profile created on a shared Netflix account be transferred to a new, independent account. This new account can then be added to somebody else's Standard or Premium subscription plan as an extra member (for a fee), or it can be used to sign up for a separate membership (which, of course, also requires payment).
However, you can't currently transfer a Kids profile to a new, independent account. (But you can simply turn off the Kids experience for a profile, which should make it eligible for transfer.)
Did Netflix accidentally leak information and then pull it down?
Netflix's "help center" customer service site has country-specific pages. Because Netflix's prices, tiers and policies can vary between countries, you can toggle a help-center's page between different countries to show what's applicable in each particular market. So, for example, since Netflix was testing account-sharing fees in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru for months, you could go to Chilean help-center pages to see how Netflix was characterizing its rules for account sharing there.
Early in February, Netflix added new information tohelp-center pagesabout account sharing, and those new details remained up on pages for Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. But Netflix also posted similar information on help-center pages forothercountries too, ones that hadn't launched the initiative yet. When Netflix realized those pages for other countries were live in error, it pulled them down.
However, since then, Netflix has revamped the help-center pages for all the countries with account-sharing with different info, so none of the information that was "leaked" is even relevant anymore.
How did Netflix come up with these fees?
As noted above, the password-sharing fee system that Netflix is rolling out appears to be modeled on a scheme the company has been testing in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru since March.
Netflix tested a different concept elsewhere in Latin America. In July, the company said it was trying out a method in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that established an account's primary residence as the "home" for the membership. If the service detected streaming at any additional households for more than two weeks, it would prompt the account holder to set up -- and pay for -- additional "homes," with a limit on how many additional homes you can add, depending on how much you're already paying for Netflix.
But Netflix appears to be dropping this "additional homes" model in favor of the other one it tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.
Watch this: Why Streaming Is Getting More Expensive
How does Netflix know that you're sharing someone else's password? Netflix says it uses a combination of IP addresses, device IDs, and “account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account” to determine if an account is being used in the primary account holder's household.Can you get in trouble for sharing your Netflix password? ›
Can I Share My Netflix Account With Family in a Different Home? You currently cannot share your Netflix account with your family in a different home, unless you add them to your subscription at an extra cost.Can you watch Netflix in 2 different houses? ›
A Netflix account is meant to be shared by people living together in one household.Is Netflix going to charge for sharing accounts? ›
must read. Sharing a Netflix account with someone else outside your home? You're not alone, and Netflix isn't happy about it. The company is now charging its account holders $7.99 for each additional user.Does Netflix know how many devices? ›
Click on your profile in the top right corner of your screen. Go to Account. From the Security & Privacy section, select Manage access and devices. Netflix will show you a list of every connected device.Is Netflix going to stop account sharing? ›
Netflix's planned crackdown on password sharing includes forcing users to regularly connect via their home wifi. An update to a help page, which has since been changed after the streaming giant said it was done in error, revealed details of how the company will finally take a tougher stance against the practice.Can my child use my Netflix account at college? ›
Netflix has always given a pass to families sharing accounts with kids who've left the nest or gone to college. Not anymore. This new policy will require them to have their own account and password.Does Netflix tell you when someone is watching? ›
Will Netflix notify me if someone else is watching? You won't know if someone else is watching movies on your Netflix account unless all your streams are used at once. Depending on your plan, you can only watch on 2-4 devices at one time. Netflix will tell you that you must free up a stream to continue watching.How many people can watch Netflix at once in the same house? ›
Or, upgrade your Netflix plan to allow more devices to watch at the same time (up to 4 with the Premium plan).
How Will Netflix Enforce This? With the new policy, only users who are part of a “Netflix Household”—those who are using the same internet connection—will be able to access the account unless they are paid additional users added onto a Standard or Premium plan.What are the Netflix rules for 2023? ›
On January 31st, 2023, Netflix updated its FAQ page with new details on the password sharing crackdown: "Who can use a Netflix account: Anyone in your household (those who live with you at your primary location) can use your Netflix account.What are the changes to Netflix 2023? ›
Netflix said it will stage a “broad rollout” of its paid-sharing plan in the second quarter of 2023, including in the U.S., aiming to convert freeloaders borrowing someone else's password into revenue-generating subscribers. The streamer announced the news in releasing its first quarter 2023 earnings report.What is the disadvantage of shared account in Netflix? ›
"Some unscrupulous person could see your viewing history, obviously, but there are other risks. They could potentially alter account-related information that could lead to you getting locked out of your own Netflix account," he warns.How can I see who is watching my Netflix? ›
From a web browser, go to your Account page. Open the Profile & Parental Controls settings for the profile you want to see. Open Viewing activity.How can I see who is logged into my Netflix? ›
Click on your profile icon located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Select "Account." Scroll down to "Security and Privacy" > "Manage access and devices." Here, you will find a list of the most recent devices that have been used to access your account.Can multiple people use the same Netflix account at once? ›
A Netflix account is intended for one household and members can choose from a range of plans with different features.Is Netflix losing subscribers 2023? ›
Netflix Inc. lost more than one million users in Spain in the first three months of 2023 according to market research group Kantar, a sign that the streaming giant's crackdown on password-sharing could backfire.How much is Netflix a month 2023? ›
|Subscription plan||Monthly price||Access to content|
|Basic with Ads||$6.99||Due to licensing restrictions some titles are inaccessible|
|Basic||$9.99||Every Netflix title|
|Standard||$15.49||Every Netflix title|
|Premium||$19.99||Every Netflix title|
Block or unblock a TV show or movie
Change the Viewing Restrictions setting. Enter your Netflix password. Under Title Restrictions, type the name of the TV show or movie and click on the title when it appears. To remove a title from your restricted list, select the X next to the title name.
Does Netflix have a student discount? As of February 2023, there's no Netflix student discount available. If you want to use Netflix for free, you might sign up for a free trial or ask your friend for their account. However, free trials are available only in some regions.What is Netflix new policy on sharing? ›
Netflix says an account can only be used by members of one physical household, sharing one internet connection. Additional members logging from elsewhere can be added for $7.99 a month. The restrictions appear to only apply to televisions and not mobile devices for now.How does Netflix know your account sharing? ›
Netflix says on its website that the company uses "IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account" to determine which devices are in the same household. "People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix," the site says.What if someone else is using my Netflix account? ›
If someone is using your account without permission, do the following to prevent further use: Change your Netflix password. We recommend using a password that is: Unique to Netflix and not used for other websites or apps.Can I give my Netflix password to a friend? ›
Netflix Is Against Password Sharing
According to Netflix's ToS your account is for “personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”How is Netflix clamping down? ›
Netflix's much anticipated password-sharing clampdown has finally arrived in the US. On Tuesday, the streaming giant announced it intended to crack down on password sharing by charging US subscribers $8 to add another user to their account.Can someone remove you from their Netflix? ›
Netflix users can change their account password to remove someone from using their account without permission.Why does my Netflix say too many users? ›
If the too-many-users problem is a common issue, then you should look into upgrading your plan. The basic $7.99 plan only allows one screen to be in use at a time. The standard $10.99 plans lets you stream on two screens. The $13.99 premium plan ups that to four.How does Netflix know your home wifi? ›
Netflix says on its website that the company uses "IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account" to determine which devices are in the same household. "People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix," the site says.
Adding extra households to your Netflix account
Members on a Standard or Premium plan can purchase additional member slots for people outside their household. Those additional members get full access to the subscription tier of the primary account holder but get their own unique account and password.
We use information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity to determine whether a device signed into your account is part of your Netflix Household. We do not collect GPS data to try to determine the precise physical location of your devices.Can internet providers see what you watch on Netflix? ›
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can see everything you do online. They can track things like which websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you watch, the device you're using, and your geographic location.Can Netflix track your location? ›
Netflix uses data like IP addresses to determine where someone is located. Subscribers with the two highest-tier service plans, Standard and Premium, will also be able to add up to two extra members outside their household for an additional monthly fee.How many people can use Netflix at once? ›
After stopping Netflix on a different device, you may need to wait 5-10 minutes before you can watch on your device. Or, upgrade your Netflix plan to allow more devices to watch at the same time (up to 4 with the Premium plan).How to kick someone off your Netflix without changing password? ›
How to Kick Someone off Netflix Without Changing the Password. Unfortunately no, this is not possible directly. You can try to remove them using the sign out device option which we mentioned above. But, if they know the password, they can log in again and you have to keep repeating the removing action.Is Netflix account sharing banned? ›
The ban on Netflix password sharing won't disappear for good, but the ability to do it for free has come to an end. Now, Netflix is charging accounts an extra $7.99 per month if users plan to share access with out-of-household viewers. (The most basic, non-ad supported account is currently $9.99 per month.)What happens if you don't set primary location for Netflix? ›
Starting today, all Netflix users have to set a primary location in order to access their accounts. This will prevent password sharing with other households.How do I keep my Netflix viewing private? ›
Open Profile & Parental Controls for the profile you want to update. Open Viewing Activity for that profile. On the Activity page, click the hide icon next to the episode or title you want to hide. If you hide an episode, you'll see the option to hide the entire series.How can I tell who's using my Netflix account? ›
- Log into your account.
- Tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- Tap on “Account.”
- Scroll down to “Security and Privacy” and tap on “Manage access and devices.”
- You will see the most recent devices active on your account.