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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: 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.

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  • (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.

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      • (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.