Netflix on Wednesday confirmed new measures to crack down on the sharing of user accounts between multiple households. But rather than putting a stop to it, the company is adding a new “sub account” option for a small fee.
Sharing accounts between households, which goes against Netflix’s terms of service, is “impacting out ability to invest in great new TV and films for out members,” the company said.
Netflix takes steps to stop account sharing
Netflix makes it incredibly simple for users to share a single account between everyone in their household. It supports multiple user profiles for different people, and the ability to have multiple streams running simultaneously.
The downside to that (for Netflix) is that is has “created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared.” In other words, people are sharing their accounts with other households, and Netflix is sick of it.
It has long been a problem for the video streaming giant. But it now has an interesting way of tackling it.
‘Sub accounts’ coming to Netflix
Instead of just banning those who break the rules by sharing their accounts with other households — which wouldn’t be good for business — Netflix is giving them the option to continue sharing in a way that’s above board.
Subscribers with a Standard or Premium plan will have the option to add “sub accounts” for up to two people they don’t live with, the company said. Each will have its own profile, personalized recommendations, and login details.
You’ll have to pay extra for this, of course. But Netflix is generously offering it at an affordable fee. In Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru — the three countries getting this feature first — sub accounts cost around $2 extra a month.
The alternative is to transfer a user’s profile to a new account. So, if you don’t want to add extra members to your own account, you can allow them to take transfer their profile and all its data to a new subscription of their own.
Netflix said it has been working on these features for the past year. It plans to roll them out “over the next few weeks” in the countries mentioned above, then work to “understand the utility of these two features.”
Assuming the changes work as intended, they — or features like them — will then expand their reach to other Netflix users around the world. Netflix doesn’t mention what will happen to users who continue to flout the rules.