Netflix Password sharing crackdown

They do use this. Indeed, it pisses me off because if I want 4k I have to also pay for a four person simultaneous users license. I live alone. I will never, ever have more than one device streaming Netflix. But they charge me for it anyway.

They do have that - depending on which level of subscription you have you can watch on one to four screens simultaneously and have downloads on 1-4 devices. Which is why a lot of people will change their subscription in response to any sort of crackdown - if I’m paying a few extra dollars to have 4 screens rather than two, I might drop down to the 2 screen plan if my mother and aunt ( for example) can no longer use my account

ETA - that’s right , I forgot about that. You need the 2 screen plan for HD and the four for Ultra HD. So maybe I just cancel altogether.

That is what they are doing now. My current plan allows for four simultaneous viewers. The rule is that all of them must be from the same household which isn’t currently being enforced.

Hmm, I never realised, probably because 4 devices is actually more than I’d ever use at once.

Of course, they could restrict that further.

Really? Huh. My sister (New York State) is letting me use her Disney account where I am (Indiana). So far it hasn’t been a problem.

My guess is that it won’t ever be a problem with Disney. Because the more people (kids) that watch Disney, the more merchandise and theme park admissions they can sell.

I have a vacation home, and have been wondering how they are going to piss me off. As different members of my family are at different homes at different times.

Technically, it’s against their Terms of Use.

“You agree that you will not share your account or account information with others.”

Netflix in Canada used to be $9.99 - now it’s crept up to $16.99 and most recently $23.51; originally you could use a VPN to see content available in other markets (USA) now you can’t. (Mostly because a local Canadian streaming service started making noise about the fact they had licenses here for some of the content).

The problem is - what is a streaming service’s target audience? Disney has specific content, a huge back catalog aimed at a specific audience. ESPN (TSN in Canada) also has a specific content that their target audience wants and cannot get elsewhere. Other services rely on non-streaming to prop up the business. Prime? I have that for the free shipping, the thing that tipped the balance into ordering online. Apple plus? Comes with a new device, free for a year - but with two phones in the house, it’s free more often than not. CNN+ cleverly pulled their plug the day they started. After all, how many current events talk shows does someone want to watch in a week, and how badly do they have to be paid rather than the plethora free content? (Is Anderson Cooper that much better not live and free? Chris Wallace was good, even on Fox, but so good I need to give him a monthly fee?)

Netflix may have some exclusive content, but when you boil it down, they have essentially “what you normally find on TV” but on demand and fresher content - comedy, drama, things being blown up and people shooting at each other, soap-opera tear jerkers, etc. A massive number of cable channels and almost unlimited DVR space is eating into that. Other than a very limited number of hockey games, I can’t think of anything other than news that we’ve watched live. Even the daily local news we tend to tape (sorry, DVR) more often than not. usually my TV is the “talking lamp” that Nielsen is in denial about, tuned to CNN.

So Netflix is up against disk space, free, and ennui. Making it more of a pain to use does not help.

Sure- but it was technically against Netflix’s TOS even when Netflix was not enforcing it and basically saying they were OK with most password sharing In fact, I remember an article where it was specifically stated that Netflix was OK with people sharing with kids who had left he household, essentially because those kids would be accustomed to Netflix and would want the privacy of their own account. Just because it’s against the TOS doesn’t mean that Disney will ever do anything to prevent it.

I’m part of the problem. A few weeks ago I cancelled, and now look what I’ve wrought.

The reason I cancelled is simple: at least in the past year, NEVER was there a movie I wanted to watch available on Netflix; never. I don’t mean browsing Netflix to see if I see something of interest, but the reverse: deciding I want to watch a movie (often a classic, but sometimes newer), and never finding it on Netflix.

I might resubscribe if there is a series I want to watch, but it has to be a strong one.

In addition to the “Let’s let my mom use our account” scenario, I guess there’s also online communities that just straight-up share passwords like a virtual “Take a Penny, Leave a Penny” tray. The system makes you pay for four screens even if you only need one so people just open them for access. If I don’t want/can’t afford a sub, I just try one account, if it’s “booked up”, move to another account, etc until I find a free screen. I assume that bothers Netflix more than your sister using your account (though they’d rather no one shared)

It feels like an obvious answer would be to just charge per screen you want available but this would mean lowering prices for single dwellers who’ll only ever want one and we can’t have that. But I might be willing to pay for an extra screen for a relative but am unlikely to start buying screens as a charitable contribution for penniless randos on Twitter.

I canceled too! But it was technically my “second” account - I’d gotten their cheapest tier account for when my boyfriend was laid off and I wanted him to catch up on shows so we could talk about them. I am already sharing the Netflix account my parents pay for that the whole family uses. Boyfriend went back to work so I canceled the account. So I’ve tweaked Netflix in two ways - a canceler and an active sharer!

If they get rid of the ability to share I’ll just become their third nemesis they don’t talk about - someone who downloads all the Netflix content they want via BitTorrent.

I would consider that an incentive to share my password with a couple of friends if I were in your situation.
Me being in mine, I see Netflix in general as incentivising me to cancel my subscription again. Probably will do it after I finish watching Better Call Saul.

Yeah. I’m a never subscribed. I too a hard look, but the price/benefit just never made any sense. Idiotic premium for high definition. Seriously, every TV you see in the shops is a 4k TV, yet Netflix are stuck in the last millennium. The idea that it comes with multiple screens doesn’t fool anyone. I have one home theatre in the house. In fact it is the only TV system of any kind. None of the other platforms have such punitive pricing for modern media.

I paid for Prime for the shipping - it is an absolute bargain for those of us in Oz. Free international shipping and insanely fast free local shipping. I took the streaming channel as a bonus and love it. Got Disney for The Mandalorian. Call me sad, but it is worth it just for the Star Wars spin off shows. Between the two I can avoid paying rental on a lot of new releases as well.

The sentiment that Netflix is dying is probably well founded. They seriously need to find some new mojo.

Yes. I think unless a service has a gimmick for attraction (Apple+, Prime) or a specific specialty (ESPN, Disney) then it’s just a me-too service like all the others. Meanwhile, they are competing against all the other services, who as startups are pretending that outbidding Netflix and overpaying for things like new movies will actually get them to the front of the line in memberships. All it does is hurt everyone.

It used to be that a movie on Netflix was something you could watch. Do I really want to pay $8.99 to watch a new release when a few years ago I could do that for $1 from RedBox? What does “own” really mean? Do they really think I’ll pay $25 for nothing more than a file copy of a movie that will probably stop working when my computer dies or they shut down their app?

I think we need to get back to the Blockbuster model, where one store (any store, any company, all competitors) carried everything they could manage. Streaming it seemed originally promised the same idea but with unlimited inventory. AFAIK music services do the same (I think, I don’t subscribe, I have already downloaded enough from my era). The same artist, the same songs, on any service except the one with Joe Rogan. If I have the impulse to watch Get Smart or Beverly Hillbillies or The Godfather or Barbarella or Gone With the Wind or Dallas or The Goonies or Downton Abbey or Casablanca or Battleship Potemkin then one service should provide that. After all, like it or not, Netflix or Paramount, that’s where we’re headed ultimately. The only question is how long before we finally get there. (YouTube?)

For many years cable TV’s biggest competitor was piracy. Many people made the calculation that a $60 cable package, plus $15 or more for each premium channel, was too much, so they just downloaded the shows they wanted.

Then streaming came along, and for $5-10/month people didn’t have to worry about messing around with torrents, and just watched stuff on Netflix. Piracy definitely didn’t die out, but wasn’t as important to many people.

As the price and convenience of streaming declines, as you say, people will move back to piracy.

I suspect what lots of people will do is just bounce between the different streaming services throughout the year as shows come out they want to see. Or (gasp!) just not watch everything. Lots of threads in Cafe Society that I don’t read because I can’t watch the show they’re talking about, and that doesn’t bother me. I still have months worth of shows to watch. If I run out, just cancel some of the services I’m done with, and dig up some old treads to see which service to get next.

This is the most rational response in my opinion. Get Netflix, binge the crap out of it for a few months, cancel. Then do the same with Hulu, etc.

It’s pretty simple to pirate without torrents. I know of a Tonga based site that you can run off of your browser. New tv episodes and first run movies are uploaded within hours. I only use it when there is something that I can’t get anywhere else like when three It’s Always Sunny episodes were taken down.

Unfortunately, no it’s not. That’s where customers want it to be headed, but the film and tv industry learned from the mistake that the music recording industry made with iTunes. They will never give up control like that again, not willingly anyway. The market fragmentation is a feature, not a bug.

I tend to agree. iTunes looms large in the memory of IP owners. Although there are some interesting differences. Nobody could have predicted the value inherent in 60’s and 70’s music IP. A clue came from CD sales, where people re-bought their LP collection. But then sales tanked. So it looked as if the back catalogues were really now milked dry of their value. And now most contemporary pop music rubbish. So much so that streaming sales of older music still makes a lot of money.

The big difference between movies, and TV shows, and music, is that people don’t watch movies, with a few exceptions, more than a few times. Mostly only once. The big trick is to get the money for that first time. There is a significant divide between movie enthusiasts with home theatre PCs and huge numbers of ripped movies that can be watched at will, and the average punter who just wants to stream a random movie once. The former is very hard to monetise, and the studios expend much effort in trying to hamper such people. The latter is where the money is. But there is a limited amount of money to extract from the average punter. Extracting that money is in competition for each person’s time. Movies are largely in competition with games. It isn’t uncommon for a home entertainment system to be dual use, and about 50/50 split between watching and playing. The gaming performance of displays forms a larger and larger part of the performance metrics.

If the market fragments, a studio may find itself marginalised, and suddenly see a disproportionally low share of the money flow. There are only so many subscriptions the average person will stand.

Perhaps the difficulty is that people are fickle, and the value proposition offered by a subscription model is attractive to both sides. It provides better value for most consumers and services see a much steadier income stream. Netflix has the problem in that it is trying to do three things. It has its traditional movie rental model model, a subscription view of back catalogue, and now as a content provider. Each of these things competes with the other for viewer’s time, but also makes the value proposition better for the viewer. One assumes that Netflix pays a per view fee to the rights holder of movies streams, rented, or “sold”. So home grown content competes with the other content within the company. Netflix is in a difficult place. It may decide to slim down and become a content provider and cut the streaming of competitor’s movies loose. But it needs to build a solid value proposition first, and it hasn’t done that. It is in danger of finding itself in “you can’t get there from here”.

Movie rental and “sales” becomes interesting. I have already noticed that on say Amazon Prime I might need to pay to view a recent movie, but that same movie is available for free on Disney+. And so on. This underpins the subscription model at the expense of the rental model. It will also drive market fragmentation.

The loser in all of this are the non-mainstream movies, and those that wish to watch them. They seem to get lost in the noise. The industry doesn’t believe in the fat-tail model. It didn’t work for music, so probably won’t here either. So a whole raft of movies are basically impossible to find. Which is a huge pity. In fairness, it isn’t cheap to do a good job of digitalising a movie. Some movies we will just have to accept will never make it. But worthy movies will fall between the cracks. I would love to believe that there is enough money to be made making this content available, but I fear the numbers don’t work.