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posted by hubie on Thursday May 25 2023, @06:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the cut-the-other-cord dept.

Starting now, anyone borrowing a Netflix login in the U.S. will have to get their own account or pay $7.99 a month:

After nearly a year of warnings and testing, Netflix has finally launched its password-sharing crackdown in the United States.

Anyone sharing their Netflix account login with family members or friends who don't live at the same address will be asked to pay an extra $7.99 a month for each additional person. The company started sending out emails Tuesday to people it determined are breaking the rules, and will continue to roll them out to primary account holders in the coming days. The people borrowing the login will get an update when they try to log in that tells them how to start their own account.

People who are using an account on the go will need to login from the primarily address once every 31 days to avoid being flagged.

[...] Netflix has said that 100 million people around the world use its subscription streaming service without paying for their own accounts. It started testing this crackdown on password sharing last year in other countries, but has long said it would eventually come to the U.S., where the company was founded in 1997.

[...] While the company policies have always said accounts were meant to be shared by households, it publicly embraced the practice in the past. In 2017, the official Netflix account tweeted "Love is sharing a password." And at CES in 2016, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the company "loved" that people share Netflix accounts and described it as "a positive thing, not a negative thing," according to CNET.

Streaming companies have been tweaking their businesses over the past year as they struggle with increasing competition and the reality that people can only afford so many monthly subscription fees. Many have raised prices, including Prime Video, Netflix and Apple TV Plus, but no other company has gone after account sharing in the same way.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday May 25 2023, @06:53AM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday May 25 2023, @06:53AM (#1308065)

    Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the company "loved" that people share Netflix accounts

    Well, some companies promised not to be evil and quietly reneged along the way...
    People too do it all the time. It's not really unusual.

    It's disappointing, but at the same time, companies and people change. If this is Netflix' new stance, I guess they have the right to change their mind, and their customers have the right to tell them what they think by shunning them and going to the competition - something they can't do with the company that promised not to be evil.

  • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Thursday May 25 2023, @08:59AM (3 children)

    by shrewdsheep (5215) on Thursday May 25 2023, @08:59AM (#1308074)

    ... again. This time it being their riskiest move so far and non-innovative to boot. I am not interested in movies but still this will be interesting to observe. I wonder why they didn't come up with cheaper second accounts (e.g. 4.99). They can always hike it later.

    Never trust companies, never trust politicians. Trust is an orthogonal concept to those.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:22AM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:22AM (#1308083)

      At least they didn't go the D+ route with ad supported base subscriptions vs "premium tier" rates if you don't want ads.

      I have never paid for Cable TV, well, except when the cable internet bundle was cheaper than internet alone and the last time I took that deal for the year it was offered I never even removed the cable decoder box from it's shrink wrap. I did have free cable for about a year when I bought a house and it took the cable company that long to disconnect the previous owners' service. During that year I also installed an OTA antenna, and didn't miss the cable when it finally went away. Basically all I watched on it that didn't come OTA was Trek TNG reruns at more convenient air times (and after a year of VCR taping TNG 5 days a week I had most of the 178 episodes...)

      Years later, our first DVD player came with a Netflix promo flyer in the box, we subscribed, stopped going to Blockbuster (roughly revenue neutral transition) and have continuously had the one base level Netflix subscription ever since. Next houses didn't even get (or want) OTA antennae.

      I suspect this change will have no impact on us, hopefully it doesn't result in a rate increase due to multiple location users migrating to other services.

      I'll say it again: No ads defines our reason for Netflix. Netflix with ads would result in immediate termination of our now roughly 25 year continuous subscription.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday May 25 2023, @01:56PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 25 2023, @01:56PM (#1308105) Journal

        Except Netflix did go that route. They have an ad-supported tier, just like Disney Plus. I believe they both added it around the same time. https://help.netflix.com/en/node/126831 [netflix.com]

        Netflix is also killing their DVD rentals, which is kind of sad, but we canceled our DVD plan recently. So, I don't have any skin in that game anymore, anyway.

        We've been talking about reducing our monthly subscriptions to streaming platforms. We canceled Disney Plus this week and earlier this month or so we switched to TMobile, which took over our payments to Netflix. That just leaves us paying for Amazon Prime, which isn't just a video streaming platform. In the event that Amazon decides to charge separately for Prime and Prime Video, we may just cancel that whole thing, too. Then we have YouTube which is trying to crack-down on people using ad-blockers. It's not surprising, but there's no way I'm using YouTube's platform with their horrible advertisement system.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:29PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:29PM (#1308116)

          Yeah, I forgot about that ad tier of Netflix, did they raise my ad-free rate 40% like D+ did? I try not to get too worked up about little stuff I can't change anyway.

          >Netflix is also killing their DVD rentals, which is kind of sad, but we canceled our DVD plan recently. So, I don't have any skin in that game anymore, anyway.

          Yeah, we held on to DVD rentals until maybe 10-12 years ago when the streaming content picked up to a point that there's enough time to be wasted on it that we don't need to waste any more time with a wider selection available on DVD. The other thing that really sucked about that time was that, in the beginning, you could get just about ANYTHING (within reason) as a DVD rental on Netflix, but after streaming started with it's little steaming pile of not-so-great content, they also cut back on the selection in the DVD catalog, little by little, until eventually I just said: "what's the point?"

          My 19 year old son told us that he wanted D+, so he gets it, under his name, paid by him, but (shhhh.... don't tell Disney) we also watch it as a family together in addition to what he streams for himself alone. When they price-hiked for the ad-free option, I would have dropped them if it was for me, but it's not, so we still have it.

          I'm sorry to hear that you're addicted to Prime, they also got my 19 year old but luckily we were able to council him about cost-benefit ratios and the wallet draining effects of suggestive sell techniques before his free month expired.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:05AM

    by looorg (578) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:05AM (#1308079)

    Not only in the US. It was in the news that they rolled this out in Europe, in about a 100 countries beyond the US, this week to. So it must be beyond Europe and the US to since even combined they are not that many countries.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:11AM (1 child)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:11AM (#1308080)

    How long do you think it will take 'til someone builds a VPN solution that automatically connects you to the original customer of Netflix when you try to access Netflix so your IP address seems to be the same as theirs?

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:35AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:35AM (#1308085)

      I'm sure this already exists, for some tiny number of fringe users.

      Adobe Flash player (RIP and good riddance) constantly issued updates. Those updates were nothing about video playing quality or hardware acceleration compatibility, they were about whack-a-mole piracy hampering.

      Netflix may have a harder time updating all the smart TV and similar players they have fielded, but I bet they do have a department devoted to piracy detection and interdiction.

      The thing is: viewable content can never be fully protected from screen capture, worldwide distribution and replay. All they can do is provide a more convenient way for paying subscribers to access the content. Unlike DRM in the music industry, Netflix seems to understand this.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Runaway1956 on Thursday May 25 2023, @12:07PM (11 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 25 2023, @12:07PM (#1308089) Journal

    the reality that people can only afford so many monthly subscription fees.

    That whole subscription model sucks. Some of us grew up in a different world, that you youngsters would hardly recognize. We had newspapers and magazines. It's easy to get a kid to subscribe to a comic book. Big Brother to subscribe to an underground magazine. Get Mom to subscribe to a fashion magazine. Get Dad to subscribe to Popular Mechanics and a hunting and fishing magazine. Or, that was all easy decades ago. But, soon, the head of household realizes that he's paying a lot of money for all that printed material to arrive in the mail every day, week, or month. It all adds up.

    Maybe a subscription really does cost as much as a cup of coffee a day. Enough cups of coffee can fill a swimming pool, where you can drown in coffee!

    Subscriptions generally suck, and they suck really hard when applied to things like your car's performance, or the options available on your computer, or phone, or whatever. But, businesses really push those subscription models!

    Don't get roped in. Pirate all those movies instead!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @01:29PM (10 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @01:29PM (#1308101)

      Give away the razor, sell the blades.

      I interviewed with a LASIK manufacturer. Insanely complex electro-optical-mechanical multi-wavelength laser tools, multiple cooperating computers driving the optical tracking and laser guidance systems. New generation every few years, two generations in the field at any given time. Really high tech, really high support, lots of very smart engineers in multiple disciplines keeping the development cycle running.

      They sell the LASIK machines at cost, they lose money on them overall. They make over a Billion US dollars a year profit on selling the eyedrops that the LASIK surgeons use and recommend.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by owl on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:13PM (6 children)

        by owl (15206) on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:13PM (#1308109)

        The problem with the "streaming" arena is the MBA's running things are all overly greedy and want all the profit for themselves.

        They would all do better overall as a group with some way to purchase a single subscription, of a moderate amount, with what is essentially "micro-payments" (handled by the service) behind the scenes to the content owners for each item of content watched by a viewer.

        But the MBA's don't want 5 cents per viewing of their content across a billion viewers, they instead want all of the $12/month for themselves from a million subscribers.

        That is why we now have what seems like twenty or more "streaming services" and also now have "musical chairs" content where one never knows where the content happens to be streaming today, because it keeps moving around (all to try to pad the MBA's quarterly returns).

        And of course the MBA's forget that their competitor is the pirate world. They have to be more convenient than pirating the content, and twenty plus different services with a constant churn of musical chair content, is not at all convenient compared to piracy.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:21PM (5 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:21PM (#1308113)

          >They would all do better overall as a group with some way to purchase a single subscription, of a moderate amount, with what is essentially "micro-payments" (handled by the service) behind the scenes to the content owners for each item of content watched by a viewer.

          I disagree, somewhat.

          The "bad old days" of Cable saw a huge monthly subscription for "Basic Cable" with hundreds of channels.

          I would much rather see ala carte pricing where, if you purchased every single thing in the "Basic Cable" package, yes your total bill would be higher, maybe 2x higher, but in reality you could pick and choose the things that matter _to you_ thereby driving revenue into the things that people actually want, and also maybe lowering your total bill overall by not funding content you don't value. Oh, and don't cry for those content providers, they ALSO have significant ad revenue on all that crap they call Basic Cable, which I suppose is a form of viewership based incremental increase in revenue for the popular content, but... ads. No thanks.

          of course the reality we live in is: ala carte pricing would be 1/2 of Basic Cable monthly cost _per channel_ you chose, because there are definitely people out there who would pay $10 per month just for ESPN.

          Imagine a world without television advertising, I wonder if they can...

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by owl on Thursday May 25 2023, @03:21PM (4 children)

            by owl (15206) on Thursday May 25 2023, @03:21PM (#1308126)

            You might have overlooked the "micro-payments" part of my comment. Your subscription fee would go to the items you actually watched, so it would work a lot like the ala carte method but without you having to juggle 20+ different subscriptions for various bits of content you do want to access.

            You'd have one subscription, but that single 'subscription' would be ala carte payments going to the content you watched via the service.

            And the payments could even be prorated. Watch 10 minutes of a 60 minute show and give up -- that content gets 1/6 of a full watch micro-payment.

            The only downside I see is for content no one watches, it would not get any micropayments and therefore might disappear.

            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @04:14PM (3 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @04:14PM (#1308133)

              >You'd have one subscription, but that single 'subscription' would be ala carte payments going to the content you watched via the service.

              Well, yeah, semantics - I understood you to mean one flat cable rate for everything (like the bad old days) - seems like we're saying much more similar things. Absolutely the cable company would consolidate the bill...

              >And the payments could even be prorated. Watch 10 minutes of a 60 minute show and give up -- that content gets 1/6 of a full watch micro-payment.

              Now you're going deeper than I'd like to. It sounds good in theory, but in practice? Is your bill going to vary by how much cable you watch? If so, the cheap in people will drive revenues, and eyeballs on ads, time down and nobody in the industry wants that. If the bill is flat and just shared among the content providers proportionally to your viewing time, then you've got abuse situations with people intentionally turning stuff on just to send them revenue without really watching, and NO I don't want Nielsen style "viewer in room" detectors rolled out widespread...

              >The only downside I see is for content no one watches, it would not get any micropayments and therefore might disappear.

              I would imagine that the bulk of the 2000+ cable channels we have now would continue streaming without subscriber income just based on the advertising they run, so with a "$7.99 monthly minimum" of subscriptions, you'd also get the whole "Free tier" of everything else. They get their payments from advertisers, or other sponsors paying for their content to be shown (PBS: Fred Rodgers sucked off your taxpayer teats for decades...)

              If cable really wanted to be competitive with YouTube et. al. I could imagine "Earth's got talent" channels where entrants pay a nominal (say $50) fee to get their 5 minutes of fame on the bottom levels, then viewers vote on their favorites and the top 10% every week get advanced to the next level channel where they are run for free and again voted on with the top 10% proceeding to the next channel where they play in heavier rotation and get their $50 back (remember: 99% of those entry fees are still unaccounted for), and the top 10% of that channel advance to the next level where they get $500 and the winners there advance from self-made videos to produced shows with Simon and Paula Abdul as celebrity hosts, etc.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 2) by owl on Friday May 26 2023, @01:27PM (2 children)

                by owl (15206) on Friday May 26 2023, @01:27PM (#1308309)

                To be honest, given the total of about 60 minutes of time since hatching the idea yesterday, I have not tried any "fully think it through" work (and as I'm in no position to bring any of it to market, that would just be wasted mental effort anyway.

                And below is somewhat more "stream of consciousnesses" than "well thought out business plan"

                My thought was more along the lines of whatever the "overall monthly payment" was, it would be divided among those streams you did watch (possibly allotted by the runtime of each stream, so a 3hr movie would receive 3x the share of a 1hr drama).

                The result is that the content owners see variable payment amounts. Someone who watched a total of one stream the whole month would end up making a large payment to that content owner. Someone who watched 100 streams would make smaller payments to the content owners. But the content owners see revenue for items that are all but essentially free to reproduce endlessly over time (yes, I'm ignoring that buying storage does cost, and maintaining it does cost, but over the long term, those costs are massively lower than the cost of production). So every micropayment (large or small) contributes revenue to the owner, and having everything in one place makes it more likely that less well known items get discovered and viewed, contributing revenue that might have otherwise been lost had one needed to "subscribe to yet one more" before even being able to discover some obscure content.

                I.e. the idea is something like the "public library" model, only for streaming content. One place, where a large amount of content can be discovered and viewed that might otherwise go ignored because it is on "the other service" that one does not subscribe to.

                Now, I do see one glaring hole that this 'service provider' might try to pull. They would likely want a "infrastructure maintenance fee" tacked onto the bill that purports to go to paying for the storage, paying for maintaining the storage, paying for the streaming costs, etc., and it is possible for that fee to become 'padded' with extras over time such that one is paying a "content viewing fee" of say $25/month, and a $75 "server and streaming cost recovery fee" tacked on, and one is back to a $100/month "cable bill" all over again.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday May 26 2023, @03:17PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday May 26 2023, @03:17PM (#1308324)

                  >They would likely want a "infrastructure maintenance fee" tacked onto the bill that purports

                  Not only purports, but if that maintenance fee is on the order of $5 per month, it's likely true - the cost of keeping a customer is probably at least that, not only to maintain the network of cables, amplifiers, etc. but also to pay for the (laughably bad, but still not free) customer service, and don't forget: sales and advertising. In 10 years we have easily consumed $600 worth of non-content related service from Comcast, mostly because of how poorly they manage themselves, how often we had to re-explain our problem to customer service, how many of their contractors came to our home and "found no problem", etc.

                  When I bought my first house and used basically only hot water for showers, a refrigerator and a TV sometimes I was a bit outraged that my electric bill was $18 with $7 (almost 40%!!!) of that being "customer charge". Of course, later when female company moved in, demanded an electric clothes dryer, A/C running all the time, 600W of lighting, etc. that $7 customer charge fell to an insignificant 3% of the total bill.

                  If that infrastructure fee ever creeps up over $15 a month it's pretty easy to call B.S. against other similar service providers who do it for much less... might even be a case for regulation.

                  The problem with all such great ideas is that: somewhere in any great idea somebody in the existing system is going to lose their fat cash cow. Nevermind if the cow is being butchered to divide among more deserving recipients, nevermind if it means lower costs and better service to the customers and therefore more customers and even higher total income for the system overall, when somebody with a fat cash cow is at risk of losing it, they will go to great lengths (including great expense) to protect their position, particularly through regulation and legislation which make effective barriers to change and competition.

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
                  • (Score: 2) by owl on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:03AM

                    by owl (15206) on Saturday May 27 2023, @04:03AM (#1308424)

                    The problem with all such great ideas is that: somewhere in any great idea somebody in the existing system is going to lose their fat cash cow. ... when somebody with a fat cash cow is at risk of losing it, they will go to great lengths (including great expense) to protect their position, particularly through regulation and legislation which make effective barriers to change and competition.

                    How very true, and that is likely the downfall of something like this (or most any other alternative that might be thought up). They all cause slaughter of a massive cash cow -- and so the current recipient of that cow's cash output will most definitely fight to keep their cow giving milk day in and day out.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:15PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @02:15PM (#1308111)

        Actually, they're up over $4.7B per year gross profit now... though all those sales guys pushing the eyedrops don't come cheap, so net operating income is closer to $700M.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by owl on Thursday May 25 2023, @03:23PM (1 child)

          by owl (15206) on Thursday May 25 2023, @03:23PM (#1308127)

          Is there anything special about the eyedrops that isn't also in a particular prescription antibiotic/anti-inflammatory eye drop?

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday May 25 2023, @04:18PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday May 25 2023, @04:18PM (#1308134)

            I'm pretty sure there's some IP at play, but basically: no... other non-patented eye drops could be used with basically equally beneficial results, but the same surgeons who are using the LASIK machines are making the eyedrop scripts for their patients (both those who have surgery and those who don't), and I'm sure there's the usual Big Pharma graft of buddying up to the whole office with free lunches every week and a little rule bending to get the Doc whatever he wants, not to mention the 2nd round interview hiring pool looking like women who were too good to bother competing in Ms. America pageants...

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DadaDoofy on Thursday May 25 2023, @12:23PM (3 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Thursday May 25 2023, @12:23PM (#1308093)

    I'm quite glad to hear they are cracking down on freeloaders. If the freeloaders get triggered by this, so be it. If Netflix can get some of the 100 million people who haven't been paying to pay, maybe they can increase profit. If not, they can save on infrastructure costs. It's a win-win.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Thursday May 25 2023, @07:52PM (2 children)

      by isostatic (365) on Thursday May 25 2023, @07:52PM (#1308192) Journal

      As long as legitimate people don't get caught. If I'm away for work I might watch netflix and I'll be on a 4G or hotel wifi signal somewhere in the world. Meanwhile my S.O is watching netflix (maybe the same time, maybe a different time) at home. I tend not to use my phone or laptop with netflix when I'm at home, as I'll watch it on the TV.

      Now that works fine now, the risk is while they try to sweep up people who don't live together but share accounts, they will also catch people like me and drive away genuine customers who aren't trying to cheat the system.

      • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:48PM (1 child)

        by DadaDoofy (23827) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:48PM (#1308224)

        We have a similar situation in that we have two houses in different states. One or both of use might be viewing Netflix from one location or the other. The information I've seen so far says as long as you access the service from your billing address once a month, you are good to go.

        • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Friday May 26 2023, @03:01PM

          by isostatic (365) on Friday May 26 2023, @03:01PM (#1308321) Journal

          how would that stop me sharing my password with other people assuming I still use it at home.

          Unless its your *device* has to connect from your billing address once a month. Which I wouldn't do as I don't watch netflix on my laptop at home, but do when away.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Thexalon on Thursday May 25 2023, @07:02PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday May 25 2023, @07:02PM (#1308180)

    The pirating sites are going to be happy about this one, I'm sure. Why bother with paying for Netflix when you can get pretty much anything you want for free?

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
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