Netflix is finally starting to crack down on those of us who share our passwords with friends and family.
The streaming giant will soon begin a test in which main account holders will pay an added fee for users on their accounts that are located outside their households, the company announced Wednesday.
The test, which will create an "add an extra member" feature, is first launching in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Extra members will get a separate login and password, and while they'll have to pay more, the extra user fee will cost less than having another account entirely (between roughly $2 and $3 per month, depending on the country). Users will also have the ability to transfer profiles to a new account. The features will roll out over the next few weeks, according to Variety.
"We recognize that people have many entertainment choices, so we want to ensure any new features are flexible and useful for members, whose subscriptions fund all our great TV and films," Chengyi Long, director of Growth Product Innovation for Netflix, said in a blog post. "We’ll be working to understand the utility of these two features for members in these three countries before making changes anywhere else in the world."
The test is a long time coming. It follows a small test that the company ran last year which displayed a warning that stated: "If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching," Variety reported, and asked for email or text code to verify the account. This one of the first big moves Netflix has made to tackle password-sharing, which obviously eats into the company's subscription revenue, and could signal a wider crackdown on the way.
Netflix has long been lax on its account-sharing policy, despite the fact that its terms of service explicitly state that all of its content is "for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household." Though users are allowed to share their accounts using features such as personal profiles and streaming from multiple devices, those users have to live together (in theory, anyway). Long said in the blog post that these features "created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared." He added that account-sharing is "impacting our ability to invest" in content.
With more than 220 million users, Netflix is the most popular streaming service globally.