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Netflix’s crackdown on sharing passwords is now rolling out to US subscribers and other global markets after a delayed rollout. The streamer had originally planned to introduce “paid sharing” to US subscribers in the first quarter of this year, but pushed back the launch date to the summer after seeing cancellations in markets that had already introduced the changes. Under the new rules, US subscribers will have to kick people out of their Netflix account or pay $7.99/month as an additional membership for people outside of their main household.
Similar changes will roll out in dozens of global markets in the coming weeks and months.
The company offers tools to ease this transition, including tools for current subscribers to see which devices are logged into their account and remove those that don’t have access, as well as tools to reset their password.
People who share someone else’s Netflix account can switch to their own account with a “Profile Transfer” option that lets them transfer their existing account information, including their viewing history and watchlist.
The feature has met with much consumer backlash, but Netflix has assured investors that, despite some early cancellations, it believes cracking down on passwords will benefit its long-term growth as a business and its financial health.
For example, during its first-quarter earnings call, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said the results of the password crackdown in its first support markets were similar to how subscribers reacted to price increases.
“We’re seeing an initial cancellation reaction, and then we’re building that on a membership and revenue basis as borrowers sign up for their own Netflix accounts and existing members buy that extra membership for everyone they want to share,” Peters told investors on an earnings call in April. “So, first of all, it was a strong validation to see consistent results in these new countries because the different market characteristics are different from each other and different from the original Latin American launch countries,” he added.
Netflix first began testing the feature in Latin American markets before expanding access to Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain earlier this year. With today’s launch, it will reach a broad set of global markets including Brazil, Bolivia, Belize, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Philippines, Malaysia, Israel, Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, Sweden and more.
The company may have delayed the crackdown in Q1 as it did not want to hurt its net additions further. The company reported a net increase of 1.75 million global subscribers last quarter, which fell below Wall Street estimates 3 million, reaching a total of 232.5 million accounts worldwide.
It also shared during the earnings call that it plans to roll out password sharing changes to US subscribers “on or before” June 30. Netflix seems to have changed the timing a bit.
Today, Netflix declared On its blog, it sends an email sharing Netflix accounts to members in the US.
The company advises that the “Netflix account will be used by one family.” “Everybody in that household can use Netflix wherever they are — at home, on the go, on vacation — and take advantage of new features like profile switching and access and device management,” the post says.
The email itself, titled “Update on Sharing,” describes the options available and points members to further support documents if needed.
In an email to the press, Netflix clarified that the email was being sent because it was “now starting to roll out updates for sharing to countries around the world, including the US.”
While earlier tests indicated that Netflix might bounce back after the password crackdown, the U.S., its largest and most important market, faces increased competition for users’ time and money.
The timing of the launch announcement is significant, as today HBO Max becomes Max, a new service that combines HBO and Discovery+ content under one roof, doubling the amount of programming available. Next month on June 27, Paramount+ will add Showtime to its service. Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to merge Disney+ and Hulu into a single app. While some changes may come with price increases, they offer more content to subscribers. Meanwhile, Netflix is asking viewers to pay more for the same amount.
Updated, 4:45 PM ET with a long list of countries where the password sharing crackdown is unfolding.